The cost of using enrichment objects made of fresh wood, which were found to be the best functioning objects in this project, was 1.80 Euros per each slaughtered pig. This includes both material and labour costs.
Based on these results, it seems that although the reduction in tail biting improves economic profitability, this improvement is not sufficient to fully cover the costs of enrichment. However, in some EU countries with the animal welfare payment system, the farmer can get the extra costs covered by applying for this payment. (For example in Finland, the design and quantity of wooden objects described on this website do fulfil the criteria of the payment.) This will bring economic profitability onto the same level as ordinary production without wooden objects and animal welfare payments.
The calculation of costs was based on the following assumptions:
- The length of wood is 20 cm / pig.
- The wooden pieces are replaced with fresh ones twice a year.
- The chains for suspending the wooden pieces are replaced once in five years.
- The wholesale price of chain is 1.20 Euros / metre (4 mm, long-link, hot-dip galvanized).
- The time needed for transporting the wood from the forest, sawing, drilling, attaching chains and suspending in a pen of ten pigs, is a total of 1 hour 40 minutes (based on time taken during the research project).
- The labour cost, including indireect costs, is 15 Euros / hour.
The labour cost for one ten-pig pen is 1.7 hours of work x 15 Euros/hour = 25.50 Euros, which is repeated twice a year. Total
labour cost per pen is 51.00 Euros / year = 5.10 Euros / pig space / year = 1.50 Euros / pig.
The material cost is 4 metres of chain = 4.80 Euros, which is needed once in five years. Total material cost is 0.96 Euros / year / pen = 0.10 Euros / pig space / year = 0.28 Euros / pig.
Therefore, the total cost is 5.20 Euros / pig space / year = 1.78 Euros / slaughtered pig.