Livestock farmers all over the upper Midwest are bracing for a cold spell. How do we make sure our pigs are safe?
Over the last few days, Jonathan has made sure the stand-by generator is in working order. We would need that in the event of a power outage. He also made sure the LP tanks were filled, to ensure plenty of fuel to run the heaters in our barns.
We like raising our pigs in barns, especially during cold spells like these! When Jonathan does chores every morning and evening, he is looking at the health of the animal, the food and water supply, the high and low temperature swings, and the quality of air in each barn. Even with the temperature at -10, and windchills at -26, the barns never went below 73 degrees F last night. The heater is set to turn on at 72 degrees, so it never had to run.
I wrote more about how we care for livestock in winter storms in December 2012. Click on the title to read Blizzards and Caring for Livestock.
Another benefit of raising pigs inside is disease control. There is a horrible sickness that is spreading like crazy between pig farms. It doesn’t matter if you raise your pigs inside, or outside, they can catch it. All pig farmers try to keep their pigs as healthy as possible, but sometimes that becomes really difficult. Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus has been found pretty close to our farm. By eliminating the ability for birds to land in their pens, and restricting the people who come into contact with our animals and equipment, we can hopefully keep them from getting sick. (To read more about PEDv, click here.) We hate when our animals get sick, just like we hate when our own kids get sick. We are thankful for a good veterinarian who will help us figure out the best treatment for our animals when they do get sick. We treat our animals a lot like we treat our family. We keep them safe, warm, fed, and as healthy as possible. When they do get sick, we treat them according to the advice of the veterinarian. The difference is, we know we are raising the pigs for meat – meat that we feed our family, and meat that will feed many of our friends.
For us, climate controlled barns are a good way to raise pigs year ’round in Minnesota.
My friend, Janice, of A Colorful Adventure, has complied other storm related blog posts. Head on over and check them out!