The Pig Adventure

Well this blog post is long overdue, but I said I would write about it, so here goes:

Back in January I had the opportunity to visit Fair Oaks Farms with the National AgChat Collegiate Congress. I had visited about 10 years ago and WOW a lot has changed!

One of the biggest differences is the new Pig Adventure that opened last summer.

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Through the Pig Adventure we got to follow the life of the pigs. When fed properly, pigs grow quickly. In the Growing Barn, pigs have 24-hour access to fresh food and water. As they grow, they are moved into bigger pens to accommodate their size.

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When the female pigs are ready to reproduce, they are moved to the Gestation Barn and are artificially inseminated. The female pigs that have not had a litter of piglets yet are called gilts. Pigs that have had a litter are sows.

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Also while in the Gestation Barn, the pigs’ food is carefully regulated with Electronic Sow Feeders to make sure they are getting the correct amount and kind of food to keep them and their developing piglets healthy.

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When the pigs get close to having their litter they are moved to the Farrowing Barn. In this barn, they stay in Farrowing Stalls. These stalls give the pigs room to stand up and lie down but ensure that they don’t move around too much while giving birth.

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Finally, the piglets are born! The farrowing stalls prevent the mother sows from lying on, squishing, and/or suffocating her newborn piglets. The sow and her piglets stay in the Farrowing Barn until the piglets are weaned. Then they will be moved into the Growing Barn to restart the adventure.

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The pork industry wants to show you what they are doing so follow #RealPigFarming on Facebook and Twitter and check out their website. The Facebook page and Twitter handle were started last summer to help bring pig farmers together to share experiences and practices.

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This info graphic shows the impact of the campaign as of last August and it has only grown since then. To date, the Facebook page has more than 3,500 likes and the Twitter handle has more than 1,000 followers. These social media sources are a great place to ask questions and engage with real people about what they do for a living!

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In pig farming, there is never a dull moment! It is fascinating to watch and help life grow, and eventually make bacon!!