Beware cold weather impact on pigs

Jeff Galle, professor emeritus at John Wood Community College in Illinois, has advice for hog farm managers during the bitter cold that has held much of Canada in its grip this week.

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Jeff Galle, professor emeritus at John Wood Community College in Illinois, has advice for hog farm managers during the bitter cold that has held much of Canada in its grip this week.

Make sure pigs are getting water. Pipes can freeze. Electric water-bowl heaters can short circuit and generate tingle voltage that will discourage hogs from drinking.

If pigs are found to be without water or dehydrated, Galle says they need to be gradually re-hydrated, not suddenly.

Keep pens clean and dry, he said. Wet pigs suffer more in the cold.

Put up windbreaks if they’re needed to divert drafts, he said.

And check the barn ventilation system to ensure that intakes are clear of obstructions and that pit fans are operating properly, And he said managers should seal cracks to prevent leaks, check door jambs and test security alarms.

Back-up generator should be checked to ensure they are in working order and have adequate fuel.

Make sure staff knows how to operate it, he said.

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