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Pig Production: Marketing and Transporting of Pigs


The final activity for finishing pigs is marketing, a vital segment of the swine industry. It is essential for the pig raiser to identify the right market outlet and more importantly, the price he should receive for his products. He should be acquainted with up-to-date market trends and information on prevailing prices.
When marketing pigs, proper shipment and transport handling should be observed to minimize losses due to shrinkage, bruises, injuries and possible deaths. During transport from farm to abattoir, pigs can lose weight by 2-10% of their original weight. Much of this loss is due to defecation and urination but there is also loss of carcass weight . Listed below are some tips to bring your pigs in good condition to their final destination. Always remember, being nice to pigs pays!
  • Group pigs according to size. Always separate the big pigs from small ones by means of a partition.
  • Marketing area with loading facilities should be provided. These are very necessary for easy and proper loading of animals into the truck.
  • Pigs are more stable while in transit if the floor of trucks or rails is bedded with sand or sawdust. When the weather is hot, wet the beddings before loading to keep the pigs cool and comfortable. Also provide covers for the trucks to protect them against the sun.
  • Advise the drivers to slow down at sharp curves and avoid sudden stops to prevent swinging or piling up of pigs on either side or end of the vehicle.
  • Underloading is just as dangerous as overloading. If there are few pigs in a load, there is a tendency for the animals to be thrown to one end of the truck and be injured or crippled during sudden stops. Likewise, if there are too many in a load, the pigs will be piling up in one side or end of the truck.
Guide to the number of pigs per square meter during transport.
  • Remove all protruding nails and other pointed objects on the floor and sides of the truck or chute.
  • Unload pigs as carefully as they were loaded. In this way, bruised or crippled pigs can be avoided.
  • Use canvass or rubber slappers from discarded interior of tires during loading and unloading. Do not kick the pigs or use canes and sticks to drive them up or down the ramp as this will produce bruises and bloody spots on the carcass. If these are found on the ham or shoulder, they will be trimmed out and these parts will show an ugly form when cured. Otherwise, if not trimmed out before curing, souring of the meat will likely occur.
  • Do not excite or over-heat pigs. If you do, there will be a rise in body temperature above normal and thereby causing the animal to be in feverish condition. As a result, the meat will tend to sour while in cure. Therefore, give pigs enough rest and leave them undisturbed until they are butchered.
How to reduce stress during transport of weaners
Add vitamins and electrolytes in the drinking water 2 to 3 days before transport. Anti-stress formulation can also be given.
It is best to transport weaners during the coldest part of the day. The vehicle should be well ventilated and the weaners should be protected against direct sunlight. It is not recommended to wet weaners during transport because they might get sick.
Piglets should not be handled roughly and should be allowed to walk by themselves into the transport vehicle. Straw beddings are needed to keep the animals warm and to protect the legs and the feet of the weaners.
If the vehicle is long, separations are necessary to prevent crushing or overcrowding of weaners on one end. Do not mix weaners with bigger animals.
Animals should not be fully fed before transport and drinking water should be given during long trips. If trips will take several days, feeds and water should be given to the animals on a restricted amount.

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