WHAT’S REALLY HAPPENING ON ILLINOIS PIG FARMS
We know you care about the welfare of farm animals – we do, too. We asked local Illinois pig farmer Chris Gould some of your most common questions about how pigs are raised to give you answers straight from the source.
WHERE DO YOUR PIGS LIVE?
All of our pigs live indoors. Inside they‘re protected from the elements, predators, rodents, and disease. They are clean, warm, dry and comfortable.
CAN THE PIGS MOVE FREELY?
Our breeding females, or sows, are in gestation stalls. This allows for careful individual feeding and observation throughout their pregnancy which lasts for just under four months. It also prevents fighting amongst sows. The piglets are free to roam around their mother in farrowing (birthing) stalls, which are built to keep both mother sows and her piglets safe and healthy.
WHAT KIND OF ACCESS DO THE PIGS HAVE TO FOOD AND WATER?
All adult pigs are fed twice per day. During pregnancy, their diet is carefully regulated to manage their overall health and the health of the growing piglets. After they give birth, they are also fed twice daily, but receive as much as they can eat to maintain their own health and keep up with the energy needs of milk production. They have access to water at all times.
HOW DO YOU KEEP THE PIGS’ LIVING ENVIRONMENT CLEAN?
All of our animals are on slotted floors. This allows all waste to fall through to the “basement,” where it is stored and later pumped out as fertilizer for our crops. Meanwhile, the pigs’ living area remains clean and dry.
HOW CAN YOU TELL IF YOUR PIGS ARE HEALTHY AND COMFORTABLE?
With careful observation, we can see if a pig is healthy and comfortable.The first step is to watch if they get up to eat during feeding time. If not, we determine whether it’s due to an illness or an injury, which we will treat accordingly.We can also listen for coughs or other signs of illness.Other, diseases that are harder to notice can be detected through different routine tests.
Do you have more questions about how animals are raised on Illinois farms? Reach out to us on our Ask a Question page.