by Caitlyn Andrews
March 17, 2017
When transporting swine for show your top concern should be two things: safety and comfort. Stressed pigs can cause injury to themselves, other pigs, or their handlers during transport. Focusing on the safety and comfort of your show pigs will help keep stress to a minimum and make for a better overall show experience.
At the first signs of stress, you may notice the following in your pig:
Under a greater amount of stress, pigs will begin to exhibit the following signs:
At this point, you should let the pigs stop and rest. Let them cool down and regulate their breathing. If you ignore these signs and continue to push the pigs, their stress levels become dangerous. Continued stress may lead to:
Further stressing the pig at this point could result in death.
The best thing you can do to get ready for transporting with minimal stress is to acclimate the pig to being handled. You should already be doing this to get ready for the show, but it's worth mentioning. The more your swine are accustomed to being handled the less stress they will endure when show day arrives.
One way to get pigs acclimated to being handled is by starting with penning the pigs when feeding them, getting them used to their handler. When they have become used to the handler you can begin grooming them at home. This will not only improve their coat condition but help them become adjusted to being handled. You should also practice washing the pig in advance of the show.
Frequently handling and penning your show pigs before the event will make the show less stressful on them. Loading your pig in the trailer will be easier if the pig is already used to being handled. Trying to load a pig that has not been accustomed to being worked with can cause undue stress and risk the safety of the pig and the handler.
Do not rush your pigs. This is critical in helping them remain calm. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to load the pigs in case they give you any trouble. You don't want to be in a time crunch that forces you to rush the loading process.
Make sure all handlers know how to use handling tools like sorting panels and paddles. This is especially important for young handlers, such as new 4-Hers that have little to no experience with hauling pigs yet. Never let inexperienced handlers load pigs without supervision.
Minimize the use of electric prods. Only use them when necessary as they can cause panic. If you do use electric prods, be sure to not use them on the pig several times in succession.
Avoid caning, slapping or kicking the pigs. Rough handling will only make the pig more nervous and could cause a dangerous situation.
Instead of forcing an entire group of pigs into the trailer, take advantage of their natural tendency to follow the leader. You'll find it easier to guide the leading pigs while letting the rest follow.
If you move pigs through an alley for loading you should only move small groups at a time for safety. Move five to six pigs at a time if the alley is three feet wide. If the alley is two feet wide, then only move up to three pigs at a time. Avoid sharp turns in alleys.
Make sure that lighting is bright and evenly distributed in moving areas.
Hauling young, smaller pigs doesn't require much space. Young pigs can even be hauled in a crate or box in the back of a truck. By the time your pig is ready to show, it's larger size requires different transportation requirements. Your pig will need much more space.
Livestock trailers work well for transporting market weight pigs. Make sure the trailer provides adequate ventilation and is covered to prevent sunburn. Open the trailer sides when the weather permits to maximize airflow.
Transportation can be very stressful on pigs. According to research, healthy pigs can lose up to 5% of their body weight during a 4-hour trip. Make an effort to keep the pigs comfortable to reduce stress. Use straw or wood shavings on the floor of the trailer for bedding. The bedding will help keep the pig clean and comfortable during transportation.
Make an effort to haul your pigs in the hours of the morning or evening when the temperatures are cooler. Keep in mind that hogs need more room when hauling in hot weather.
If you're hauling multiple hogs you should keep spacing in mind. As a general guide, leave enough space so that every animal can lay down at the same time. You can use partitions to help divide the load.
Try not to allow the pigs to stand and move around once you've loaded them. Start moving immediately to prevent the pigs from moving and injuring themselves. Use caution when driving, making an effort to stop and start smoothly.
Handling animals can be unpredictable. Minimize the risk of your pigs becoming stressed by following the advice in this article. Preparing to haul in advance and sticking to the tips above will help transportation go smoothly so you can focus on the event. Have fun at the show!
by Caitlyn Andrews
September 28, 2018
Hog producers around the globe are on high alert following the recent outbreaks of African Swine Fever (ASF) in China. Here in the United States, you need to know how this disease affects you and your pigs.
Take action now to educate yourself on African Swine Fever. Here is everything you need to know about ASF.
by Caitlyn Andrews
July 05, 2018
Feeding a quality calf milk replacer offers many benefits to your calves. It can result in higher growth rates among other advantages.
However, to maximize these benefits you need to make sure you are correctly mixing the milk replacer. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your milk replacer.
by Caitlyn Andrews
March 20, 2018
Producers that fail to remove the net wrap from their round bales could be causing serious problems for themselves and their herd in the future.
Net wrap refers to the wrapping or string that binds hay together. Round bales are commonly fed to cattle and the net wrap that keeps them together comes in different materials.
It doesn't matter what type of wrap is used or whether the hay bales are fed whole or after grinding, many producers leave the wrap on.