North Home Field Piglets Sleeping in Sun
Humane treatment of our animals is very important to us. The biggest thing we’re looking forward to when we have our own on-farm slaughter is that the pigs will have to make the long trip to butcher each week. Getting there is a journey we’re making step-by-step.
In the fall, spring and winter the weather is cool and it isn’t so bad but the way things work in the summer heat is we don’t want to leave the pigs cooped up in the truck any longer than necessary. We also don’t want to transport them when the sun is shining on the vehicle. Pigs are very sensitive to heat stress. To minimize their discomfort it means loading in the cool of the evening and then traveling the three hours down to the butcher during the night so the pigs can unload in the early morning as quickly as possible.
This minimizes the stress for the pigs but is also hard on us. It means we gets up early on Wednesday, like every day. Wednesday afternoon we herd pigs down from the mountain pastures, sort and shift groups sending late term gestating sows to the farrowing fields and selecting the finishers and roasters for the week. We catch a quick nap and then late Wednesday evening, sometimes around 10 or 11 PM, we load pigs into the van and immediately begins the three hour drive down to Massachusetts. We arrive early Thursday morning and unloads pigs right after away so they won’t be cramped up in the van any longer than necessary. Sleeping in the van is not our idea of a good time but one does what is necessary.
Once we have the on-farm slaughter setup it will be much easier on us and on the pigs. We’ll simply move each week’s batch of finisher and roaster pigs into the final field off of the lairage by opening a gate. From there they’ll move into the lairage and then one by one into the stun chute. No overnighter. No trip. No stress.
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Outdoors: 79°F/54°F Sunny
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