The world gained a few more pork chops this week. The hogs from our confinement barn are ready to “go to the smokehouse” (for any of you Charlotte’s Web fans) and several loads have already gone out in the last week.
About five months ago, our barn was filled with 2,100 piglets that weighed approximately thirteen pounds a piece. Today, they are market weight which is about 275-300 pounds. They will go to various packing plants after leaving our farm. They’ll be harvested for pork products that you will purchase at your local grocery store or in restaurants.
We contract feed these pigs for AMVC (Audubon Manning Veterinary Clinic) and typically get the pigs from a sow farm in Arkansas. This time, however, they came from a sow farm in Western Iowa.
One of the greatest benefits of a hog confinement barn is providing a comfortable, controlled environment for the animals. Our barn is a tunnel style barn so there are curtains on one end and fans on the opposite end that pull clean air into the barn for ventilation purposes. In the heat of the summer, the animals are protected from the sun and kept cool from the large fans that pull air across the barn. This also helps to maintain nice air quality. This time of year, the hogs are kept warm and comfortable regardless of the harsh conditions outside.
Curtains are in place on the sides of the barn for emergency purposes only. For example, if our barn loses power and the fans shut off, the side curtains drop to ensure there is ventilation while the fans aren’t running. There is also an alarm system so that in the event the barn loses power or the air temperature reaches above or below set points, it will automatically call our phones and notify us.
Water is always readily available to the pigs through waterers in the feeders. There is a nipple that they can push to the side to release water. There are also cup waterers available to them which work in the same way.
Their feed ration changes as they grow and develop. Their nutrition program is developed by the experts at AMVC Nutrition. They eat a combination of corn, soybean meal and DDGs (dried distillers grains).
You can see from some of the pictures that the floors in our barn are slatted. This is to allow the manure to run into the eight foot pit that is underneath the barn. Once this pit gets full of manure in the fall, we will then pump the manure out of the pit and direct inject it into our fields. Hog manure makes for fantastic fertilizer for our row crops.
Once the barn is emptied out, it will be thoroughly power washed and cleansed before the next group of piglets arrives. I look forward to sharing that with you! Please reach out if you have any questions about our hog confinement barn. All this pig talk has made me hungry for some bacon . . .