Minnesota Farmer


Bringing back the barn
November 2, 2012, 4:52 pm
Filed under: Animal care, Farm, farm animals, fertilizer, food safety | Tags: , , , ,

When we stopped raising pigs about 10 years ago we did not expect our old barns to be used again.  They were not really old, about 20 years old for the newest and 60 years old for the oldest, they were just too small for most people to use.  Then Tony came by to talk to us.

Tony was in college and wanted to raise pigs.  He wanted to rent our small barns.  The grower/finisher barn at my place needed a bit of work, but Tony rebuilt it, added some new equipment and moved some pigs in.  Then he talked to my dad about the old gestation barn.  That needed little work to become a grower/finisher, so that too became a space for more pigs for Tony to use.

It is now six years later and Tony needed to make some changes in his operation.  He was looking for somewhere to put a 2000 head grower/finisher barn and needed more nursery space.  We thought it over, crunched some figures and became partners with Tony on a whole new scope, and we are back in the pig business again.

Currently there is a new barn being built-in my dads field that will house 2000 pigs.  We supplied the money to build it, Tony is supplying the pigs and the management and rents the barn from us, and, we get 120 acres of organic fertilizer a year out of the barn.

The old gestation/farrowing/nursery barn is being remodeled to become a nursery barn for Tony’s operation.  So here are some of the changes.

A transition area has been added to the old gestation barn to make moving pigs into and out of the barn easier.

The main walk-in door has been moved from the left side of the farrowing barn to the center.  The office will stay on the right side of the entry area, but the rest of the entry has been redesigned.

When entering the area where the pigs are, you now must go through a shower.  This is to remove any chance of disease movement between barns.  Out side clothing will remain outside.  All clothing used in the barn will stay in the barn until it is removed to be washed.

Walls between the three old nursery rooms have been removed.  We used the rooms separately because we did not raise as many pigs.  Tony gets his pigs in groups of 1000 and needs more space.

The old farrowing crates have been removed and new floors, fence and ventilation added in the old farrowing rooms.

Equipment appropriate for little pigs has been added to the old gestation barn.

Piglets will come into the barn after weaning at about 16 to 20 pounds.  They will move to the grower/finisher at about 45 pounds.  By the time they reach 250 to 280 pounds, in about 5 to 6 months, they are ready to go to slaughter and become bacon, pork chops, sausage and ham.  Lots of good eating!

It’s good to see a young farmer making a go of it.  We need some more young folks on the farm to replace us older ones as we retire.

*Definitions

Gestation barn.  Where female pigs are held after breeding.

Farrowing barn.  Where baby pigs are born and spend their time with the sow before weaning.

Sow.  Female pig after farrowing.

Gilt.  Female pig that has never given birth to piglets.

Grower/finisher barn.  Where pigs are raised until sold for slaughter.

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