Differences in prevalence of gastrointestinal parasitic helminths of Spotted Bentheimer hobby farms, nature conservation farms and organic farms
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The pressure from society, government and also amongst farmers has resulted in a transition of systems with outdoor pig production systems in the Netherlands. Most of these outdoor pig production systems in the Netherlands are organic farms, but there is a growing group of small scale of agricultural farms that focus on care, education or processing of regional quality products. The breed that is often used for these purposes is the Spotted Bentheimer. Besides serving for human consumption or education, these pigs are kept in several hectares of forest with the purpose of nature conservation (project ‘’Pig landscape developer’’, ‘’varkens als landschapsontwikkelaar’’). This is one of the reasons that the Association of the Spotted Bentheimer requested to conduct a risk analyses for humans and animals in this group of farms. The occurrence of gastrointestinal parasitic helminths and the prevalence of these parasites on the population of the Spotted Bentheimer in suckling pigs, weaners/fattening pigs and sows were studied. Organic farms were used as a comparison to estimate the risks of keeping pigs as nature developers. 8 organic farms (OF), 16 Spotted Bentheimer hobby farms (HF) and 3 nature conservation farms (NC) participated in the questionnaire and fecal examinations. Each farm was visited once or the farmers sent faeces by mail. Infections with strongyle‐type, Ascaris suum and Trichuris suis were found and no clinical cases were observed. Infections with strongyle‐type eggs were found on 13 % of the OF, 43 % of the HF and 33 % of the NC . Weaners/fatteners and sows had the highest prevalence. Weaners/fatteners had a prevalence of 50 % of the NC and 63 % of the HF, sows a prevalence of 14 % of the OF, 39 % of the HF and 33 % of the NC. Few positive samples for Ascaris suum and Trichuris suis were seen. Ascaris suum was present on 25 % of the OF, 11 % of the HF and absent on NC. Weaners/fatteners had a prevalence of 25 % of the HF and sows had 29 % of the OF. Trichuris suis was present on 26 % of the HF and only seen in weaners/fatteners with a prevalence of 50 %. Trichuris suis was absent on the OF and NC. This study showed that pigs on Spotted Bentheimer farms have significantly higher infections with strongyle‐type eggs than pigs on organic farms.