Are you taking the pigs, whether to take them to slaughter or to a 4H show? If so, you’ll need to be smart about how you do it.
One of the hardest things about owning a hog is figuring out how to transport it. Hogs are very large but can be carried in an enclosed trailer or stock trailer with some effort.
The safest way to transport pigs is with an enclosed trailer, which protects them from weather and collisions.
There are certainly other ways to move pigs, but having an enclosed trailer to move your hogs is the most reliable way to do this.
In addition to the “what” you will use to move your pigs, you also need to deal with the “how”. Pigs are notoriously stubborn animals, and getting them from Point A to Point B isn’t always easy.
Here are some tips to help you transport pigs – maybe not necessarily in style, but safely!
- 1 When is it necessary to transport pigs?
- 2 10 Tips for Transporting Pigs
- 2.1 1. Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of stress
- 2.2 2. Get used to handling pigs
- 2.3 3. Keep calm and don’t rush the pigs
- 2.4 4. Use Sorting Panels
- 2.5 5. Avoid Electric Products
- 2.6 6. Take Advantage of the Natural Leader
- 2.7 7. Use Alleys and Corners
- 2.8 8. Make Sure You Have the Right Trailer
- 2.9 9. Keep Spacing in Mind
- 2.10 10. Don’t let them stand – start moving as soon as possible
- 3 drive carefully!
When is it necessary to transport pigs?
There are some situations when you may find that it is necessary to move pigs. Here are some of the most common.
1. Buying or Selling
This is one of the most common reasons why people take their pigs and unfortunately, it is also unavoidable. If the pigs are moving from Farm A to Farm B, unless those two farms are neighbors, they will need to get into a trailer to get to their new home.
The good news is that this is something that is often done with young productive pigs, which are retracted from the stress of the move a little easier than older sows. However, you will still need to take reasonable steps to ensure that your pigs are not distressed by the move.
2. Proceeding to Slaughter
Another often unavoidable situation is when you need to take your pigs to the slaughterhouse.
Many farmers don’t give that much thought, believing that stress levels don’t matter because the pig isn’t going to live that long.
However, several studies have shown that pre-slaughter stress can dramatically reduce meat quality (due to cortisol production). Pigs also lose a shocking percentage of their body weight when they are under stress, even for a short period of time.
It can also lead to conditions like manifestation of porcine stress syndrome.
Therefore, you must be careful when transporting pigs, even in the moments that lead to slaughter.
3. Show or Reproduction
If you have pigs that you use for exhibition or breeding, you may find that it is also necessary to transport them in a trailer or by other means.
If you have pigs that are more likely to be stressed than others, you may need to reevaluate whether it is a good idea to use them for showing or breeding. Can you use other animals instead?
4. Is it really necessary?
While you probably aren’t willing to load your pigs into a trailer for pleasure riding, the reality is that there are some situations in which it may not really be necessary to move them.
For example, instead of taking the pigs to the slaughterhouse, would it be possible for you to slaughter them on the farm? Instead of taking your pigs to another farm for breeding, could you consider AI breeding?
Explore all the options for limiting their stress (and yours) by transporting them.
10 Tips for Transporting Pigs
Here are some general tips for moving pigs so you (and most importantly, they!) can have a stress-free experience.
1. Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of stress
This is a good tip for pig farming in general, but especially if you plan on moving your pigs anytime soon.
Keep an eye out for the following symptoms, listed from mildest to most severe:
- rapid breathing
- increased heart rate
- elevated body temperature
- open mouth breathing
- red or discolored skin
- inability to move
- squeak or gasp
Ultimately, ignoring the signs of stress can lead to death, so you should take it slow and let your pigs rest if they exhibit any signs of stress.
2. Get used to handling pigs
This can be tough, but if possible, try to get used to handling your pigs. Interact with the pigs while you feed them. If they allow you, pet them.
Of course, always be careful when handling your pigs, but know that a pig that is accustomed to human contact will be far easier to load and transport than most wild boars.
3. Keep calm and don’t rush the pigs
One mistake I almost always make when pigs walk is thinking they’ll work My timeline. Ha! think again.
A pig has a mind of its own, and essentially, the more you try to make a pig run, the slower it is going to run.
You need to make sure you stay calm and most importantly give yourself enough time to load the pigs. Don’t put yourself in a time crunch that will put stress on both you and the pig.
4. Use Sorting Panels
The sorting panel can be your best friend when moving any type of animal, but especially when moving pigs. Invest in something (or build something) to make your life easier.
5. Avoid Electric Products
This should more or less go without saying, but try to avoid being rude. I don’t like using pedals or electrical stuff. Some pig farmers swear by them, saying they are essential.
The problem with things like prod, especially when used multiple times in a row on a pig, is that they can cause jitter. Being rude or aggressive with pigs in any way can make them more aggressive and lead to a dangerous situation.
6. Take Advantage of the Natural Leader
Did you know that pigs, like most groups of social animals, have a natural leader? If you can figure out who it is (often, it’s the biggest pig, though not always), you can take advantage of the social structure to move your pigs around.
Instead of forcing or forcing all of your pigs into the trailer one by one, you can let the lead pig guide the rest. Tame that leading pig and you’ll have a much easier time spotting the others.
7. Use Alleys and Corners
Tight corners and lanes can both be helpful when moving pigs – but they can also be your downfall.
Try to avoid sharp turns in the streets and make sure the lighting is bright. Pigs don’t want to move on if they can’t see what’s next, but they’re also not great at backing up. This can cause a bottleneck.
Instead, just move a few pigs at a time – no more than 6 at a time if the alley is 3 feet wide.
8. Make Sure You Have the Right Trailer
When you’re hauling small, young pigs, you don’t need a lot of space. Many people haul them in the back of a truck or crate, making the trailer obsolete.
However, adult pigs and market pigs require a lot of space. Open trailer sides or vented ones are ideal for increasing airflow.
9. Keep Spacing in Mind
Pay attention to how much space your trailer has. There should be adequate ventilation, and the space needs to be covered to prevent sunburn.
Leave enough room so that each animal can lie down at the same time. You may need to invest in splits to isolate the load or ease the fight.
10. Don’t let them stand – start moving as soon as possible
Once your pigs are loaded into the trailer, try to leave as quickly as possible. Now is not the time to come back home to enjoy that second cup of coffee. You need to hit the road.
The longer you have pigs in the trailer, the more likely they are to stand up and turn around. If you start walking after that, they can fall and injure themselves.
Finally, try to move the pigs during the early morning or later evening hours, when temperatures are cooler. It can also reduce stress.
It’s important to be mindful of the transportation process and how it will affect your hogs. Make sure you have a sturdy trailer to carry them, and don’t overstuff or overstuff the vehicle with animals.
You’ll also want to make sure they are comfortable in their temporary digs, so provide bedding material such as straw if necessary.
Most important tip? pay attention! Although you should always do your best to limit distracted driving and be attentive on the road – now is not the time to check your Instagram! – This becomes even more important when you are transporting animals.
Avoid moving at high speeds, such as jerky turns or slamming on the brakes, as this can further stress your pigs.
Transporting pigs can be a tricky business, but with the right tips and attention to detail, you should have no problem getting your animals from point A to point B.
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