Sunday, November 2, 2014

My Passion

I work most of my days inside our sow farms where the mother pigs are bred and also give birth.  It is in here that we also take care of the special needs for the nursing piglets before they are weaned off of their mother.  A lot of my stories I have to share have their roots in the sow farm.  I think it is an amazing, fast paced, full of life place to work.  I fell in love with the sow farm from the moment I stepped in there 10 years ago and I haven’t left since.

I am a Day One Care Specialist.  That means that I pour my heart and soul into helping newborn piglets and their moms on their first day of life.  There are so many things on this day that we need to get right to ensure that that pig stays healthy and grows.  It is a constant task to be running around being a nurse to sows and babies. 

The most important thing to get right for the newborns is simple.  Just like humans, newborn piglets need to be warm, dry, and full of milk.  On a farm our size we farrow (the process of sows giving birth) around 60-70 litters a day with totals of 700-800 piglets.  Yes, that’s daily.  And wouldn’t you know it; these girls give birth any time of day they feel is the right time for them.  They don’t care that it is Christmas or Sunday afternoon so we employ a 24 hour/7 days a week crew over 3 shifts.  This helps us make sure there is no hour of the day that a sow will give birth unattended and the piglets receive the care they need to be warm, dry, and full.

Hand drying newborns
Once a piglet is born we dry him off with a towel which not only helps him stay warm, but stimulates blood flow and his appetite.  We hold him up to a dinner plate (or teat) and show him where to find the stuff that he is searching for.  Once that piglet has gotten a taste of moms milk he often has no problem from there on out.  Sows, just like humans, express special antibody-packed milk for only a few hours after the labor process.  This super milk is called colostrum and it is essential that that pig receives some so he has protection from any sort of bug that may be out there.  We work tirelessly to make sure that everyone of those 800 piglets a day gets a hang of it.  Now that is a rewarding yet difficult task to achieve! 

These piglets are just born and already have the hang of it!
That is one of the reasons that we are so proud of who we are and what we do.  We are privileged to be called animal caretakers and take our business very seriously.  Everyone performing their jobs on our farms are specialists in their area and take much pride in being the best at it.  We love our animals and love working with them every day.  As you can tell by now, I could ramble all day about taking care of newborn piglets.  I work most of my days inside our sow farms so much of my stories come from in there.  Raising pigs and raising awareness of how much we care and put into our livelihood is my passion. 

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