Pig comfort- job No. 1 for Real Pig Farmers

Earlier this week, we heard from Dale Norton, president of the National Pork Board, who goes as far as employing a towel service to keep his pigs warm during the cold Michigan winters. But in case you think he’s the exception and not the rule, we’re here to set the record straight. Just read what a few of our real pig farmers recently shared with us:

“Temperature controlled barns help to keep the pigs in a constant and comfortable environment,” said Toni Rasmussen, a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

“We have all stages of growing pigs in modern climate-controlled barns,” shares Jennifer Campbell, a pig farmer from Indiana.

“Barn ventilation allows for fresh airflow throughout the barn. Farmers monitor the ventilation to avoid any air drafts throughout the barn. By using the temperature controls and ventilation techniques, farmers can achieve a great, warm barn environment for their pigs,” says Kristi Schaffer, employee of Wakefield Pork from Minnesota.

Jarrod Bakker, a pig farmer from Iowa shares, “We have about 40 sows and keep them outdoors. We bed them deep in cornstalk bales that are baled in the fall after the corn is out and before the snow comes. It’s amazing how warm they can stay when you deep bed them.”

Sows at the Bakker Farm in Iowa stay nice and warm with deep straw bedding.

“We place heat lamps over our piglets and dry them off with powder — it’s like piglet baby powder — to keep them dry and warm. The birthing barns are kept at 75- to 80- degrees for the newborns and their mothers to be comfortable during nursing,” says Lauren Schwab, a pig farmer from Ohio.

“We have 24-hour care that is committed to attending newborn piglets and making sure every pig is warmed, dried and gets a belly full of milk! We use heat lamps and black mats to create a warm, safe spot for the piglets to lay free of any drafts or stresses. We focus intensely on the first 24 hours of that pig’s life. A good start on a piglet is essential to a healthy life for that pig. When he is born, he (like a human baby) must receive colostrum from his mother to help his immune system. Colostrum is an antibody-packed super milk that the momma pig only expresses for a couple of hours after giving birth. We need to be there to help make sure all pigs get a good drink of this milk so they can stay healthy. Kind of like making sure your kids take their vitamins in the morning!”  Erin Brenneman from Brenneman Farms is one of the largest pig farmers in Iowa.

It’s just one of the many ways America’s real pig farmers abide by the We Care Ethical Principle “Protect and promote animal well-being.” Working closely with employees and veterinarians, they provide the best care for their pigs at every stage of life.

So the next time you’re fighting snow and cold winds, remember pig farmers are, too.