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Welcoming Your Show Pig Home

When bringing home a new show project, there are many details to consider to ensure your animal has a suitable environment and is adapting appropriately. Proper planning will help you provide these essential components to your show pig!


Water

Water is the number one nutrient for all animals. It is important that you provide your show pig with a clean and easily accessible water source. Observe pigs when bringing them into your barn to make sure they know where their water source is located and are familiar with using the system. If you are using nipple or cup waterers, it is a good idea to show the pigs how to trigger the water multiple times per day the first few days. Make sure you are cleaning out debris or warm water when you are checking your pigs.


Feed

Now is when your feeding program begins! You should be aware of what kind of feed and how much you should feed your show pig. This can vary depending on the pig’s body type, size and their end goal. You should feed them twice a day, at around the same time. This is to keep a consistent schedule for you and your pig. Pigs love routine! When feeding your new show pig, make sure to feed them in a feeder that they can easily access. Make sure you aren’t hanging it too high. Although many people like to feed their pigs on self-feeder, it can be beneficial to hand feed them instead. Not only can this help the pig become more comfortable with you, but this also allows you to better monitor feed intake for weight gain or any health changes with your animal.


Welcoming Your Show Pig Home

Bedding

It is important to ensure your new show pig has a clean environment. When bringing pigs into the barn for the first time, you should clean and disinfect their pen before adding fresh bedding. Types of bedding that can be used are pine shavings, pellets or clean straw. When you get your pig moved in and settled, try to keep their pen as clean as possible by spot cleaning and adding new bedding as needed. In my barn, we will slightly wet an area of bedding to encourage and train the pigs to use the bathroom in that spot. Pigs will be as clean as the environment you give them!


Before putting bedding down, I like to add Essential Dry™. This product helps lengthen bedding life and reduces harmful ammonia odor from urine and manure. Then, when I spot clean or add new bedding, I'll sprinkle in Essential Dry again to help with odor and extend the bedding until the next cleaning.


Heat

Spring weather can fluctuate, so you need to be prepared for a range of temperatures. Take a look at what kind of shelter you are keeping your pig in and make sure you are providing them with a good heat source. This can be provided with either a heat lamp or various types of heaters in your barn. Keep an eye on the daily weather forecast and make adjustments for evening and daytime temperatures as needed. Young pigs like a warmer temperature than bigger, older pigs.


This chart shows the desired temperature range based on the pig's weight.


Welcoming Your Show Pig Home

Safety

It is best to pen your animal in a safe environment to eliminate injuries. Take a good look around your pen to make sure there are no sharp wires, electrical cords or other places where they could possibly harm themselves. Keep plastic bags or containers out of the pig’s reach. It is ideal to pen your pig individually to avoid injuries by other animals. If you do need to pen pigs together, know that they will fight with one another for the first few days, so make sure you are paying close attention to them.


Welcoming Your Show Pig Home

Did You Know? Providing pigs with additional stimulation will make them calmer and less excitable. Pigs raised in a barn with a radio playing are less likely to startle when they hear a sound such as a door slamming. Additionally, playing a radio provides protection from outside predators. In my barn, I keep a radio playing for the pigs at all times. My dad likes to think they prefer 90s country!

Quality Time

Getting your new show pig adjusted to their home is very important, but it is also critical to get them familiar with you! Start slowly by approaching them outside of their pen while they’re eating or touching their nose. This will help establish trust. You can then work up by petting their head and brushing them and getting in the pen with them. They will eventually love the attention! Establishing trust early is essential for training them to show!


Until next time ~ Taylor

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