Page 15 - RealDirtENG2017newJAN
P. 15
Sweating like a pig? It’s not possible!
Forget what you’ve heard about that expression. Pigs like to keep clean, and they can’t sweat to cool off. Barns provide a clean, cool environment, and some even have sprinklers to keep the animals at a comfortable temperature.
The expression “sweat like a pig” actually comes from the smelting process of iron and has nothing to do with farm animals. After the iron cools, sweat-like beads of moisture, resembling piglets and a sow, form on its surface. This feature means that the iron has cooled enough
to be moved safely.
Generally speaking, pigs in Canada live
in specially-designed barns with fans
or “curtains” that can be opened to help control humidity and temperature. To keep the animals healthy, most barns have strict rules in place, called “biosecurity protocols”, so that diseases are not brought into the barn (sicknesses can spread more easily through pigs and poultry than with certain other farm animals). Farmers therefore keep track of who is coming to their farm, and what they might be bringing with them – vehicles or equipment, for example. Anyone entering the barn may be asked to put on protective footwear and clean overalls. At some farms, you may even be asked to take a shower BEFORE and AFTER you enter the barn!
Sows are female pigs that usually birth eight to 12 piglets in a litter; they give birth – called “farrowing” – twice a year. Sows are put in special “farrowing pens” just before giving birth, and remain while they nurse their piglets. The pen’s bars give each sow something to lean against
when she lies down, and the piglets have a safe area, so the sow won’t accidentally lie on top of them. The area where the piglets sleep can be kept warm with a heat lamp, or a heating pad. Some of these systems have even been designed to raise and lower as the sow stands up and lies down, giving the piglets a chance to jump to safety.
Pig housing types vary, with group housing barns becoming more popular. Farmers also provide things for pigs to play with (e.g. balls, tires, and hanging ropes), which help to improve animal welfare. Pigs can be raised indoors or outside, but since most breeds don’t have fur or wool coats to keep them warm, Canada’s cold winter weather makes it dif cult for them to live outdoors all year long.
Farmers, researchers, and other welfare experts work continually to improve how farm animals are raised. Research in pig health, behaviour, and housing is ongoing, both in Canada and around the world.
Courtesy of FFC Saskatchewan
The Real Dirt on Farming 15

   13   14   15   16   17