Saturday, May 7, 2011

Cambridge Agric Tour; Pigs

The sows farrow in these outdoor units which are bedded down with deep straw. When they're due to farrow they nest down and the little windows at the back means the farmers are able to check on them easily without disturbing her.
 Once the piglets are a couple days old they'll be up and about, running around the sty and outside.
 The sows had loads of room separated off by electric fences which the piglets could run underneath if they really wanted to but they tended to stick close to mom and not venture too far.
 After about a month the piglets were weaned and moved into groups with big automatic drinkers and feeders which they soon got used to and had a lot of space to run around and wallow in.
 You can see here the size of the field they were in and how much space the pigs had, this was just once of the fields they kept - they had tens of fields like this full of pigs.
 Everything is arranged like a clock around the central unit in the middle so if the pigs need to be handled they can just open one of the gates and herd them into the middle making it stress free and easy for the staff and the pigs.
The middle unit had lots of gates and panels to allow them to separate groups of pigs by size, sex or for any other reason easily then back up a trailer to load them straight into to move them off site or for slaughter.

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