Preparation is Key – Part I – Your Facility

Pig fever is rampant this time of the year. And no, I’m not talking about the pigs. Both parents and kids are ready to start those pig buying trips. That time will soon be here…but until then, there are a few steps you can take to help keep your pig fever under control.

As Henry Ford once said, “Before anything else, getting ready is the secret to success.” And boy, does that ever relate to show pig projects!

We want you to have a successful show season. So, let’s talk about what you can do now, even before you get your next show pig.

This step-by-step guide is going to be broken down over several parts. Today, we are going to start with getting your facilities ready.

No matter where you house your pig, the structure needs to be clean. Throughly remove any and all  manure, wood chips, straw and the like. Knock down bird nests, wipe away cobwebs, and look for signs of mice. Concrete floor pens should be sanitized with a bleach solution (we like a 1 part bleach, to 5 parts water ratio). Remember, if you clean with bleach you also need to rinse the area well and allow it to thoroughly dry before bringing any animals into the facility.

Dirt pens should be sprinkled with agricultural lime and worked into the topsoil, if possible. If you have a high use corner (you know, that one corner where the pigs like to deposit manure), dig down and remove the top layer of soil. Replace it with sand or with clean topsoil.

The walls of your structure should also be inspected. Look for drafty spots and take the time to fill with expanding foam. Expanding foam is easily available at your local hardware store, and costs approximately $5-6/per can.

Take the time to inspect your pens. Are your gates and panels in good shape? Are they dirty? Anything that your pigs will come into contact with needs to be cleaned.

Don’t forget about those feeders and waterers…they also need to be cleaned and disinfected!

Part of your facility includes your walking area.

Pay special attention to the ground. Are there any items which may injure your pig’s feet or pads? Especially look for rocks, wire, metal and glass. This step is so important. Our guideline is simple – if you were to walk in that area barefoot, is there anything that would bother your feet? If so, it has to go…

Join me next week for another round of suggestions…

Steve

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