The first thing to do is to prepare the pen prior to the arrival of the pigs. When considering your pig shelters, your pet pig(s), or feeding swine or feeder pigs note that your pigs need a clean, dry, draft-free area under a roof to sleep. Adequate clean pig bedding is necessary.
A clean, draft-free area with proper pig bedding is important to prevent the pigs from becoming stressed after arrival. Shelter for pigs from rain and snow is important if the pen is located outside. If the pen has previously housed feeding swine, feeder pigs or your pet pig(s), be certain to thoroughly clean and disinfect your pig shelters with a product labeled for eliminating both viruses and bacteria.
Pig feeding is a big expense. All pig breeds have specific space requirements determined by their weight.
Overcrowding pigs creates stress, resulting in decreased growth rates. The pig shelters should provide adequate space for all of the pigs. Pigs that weigh less than 40 pounds should have between 3 and 4 square feet per head, while pigs weighing more than 150 pounds need at least 8 to 10 square feet each.
Pig breeds have an ideal temperature called the thermoneutral zone at which they are most comfortable. The ideal temperature for a growing pig is around 70° F; the ideal temperature for a finishing swine is slightly cooler, about 60° F. If the temperature falls below this ideal zone some types of pig bedding, such as wood shavings, should be used to keep the sleeping area warm. When the temperature rises well above 70° F, consider installing misters of water in your pig shelters to help cool your pigs.
Essential equipment includes:
- small, covered sleeping area
- a hog feeder
- water barrel
Equipment you will need for showing:
- garden hose (to wash off pig)
- rubber boots
- scrub brush
- small brush that fits in the pocket of your pants
- mild soap, such as Orvus
- rags (to wash out ears and wipe off feet)
- water bucket and feed pan
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