Hi, Friends! Some of you might remember I spent about a week traveling in September, first to Vermont for Blog Brûlée and then I hopped a late night flight headed to Des Moines, Iowa. (Some of you may remember the run I did along the river there.) I was invited by the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance to attend a Pig Farm tour and a round table at DuPont.
Iowa Selects Pig Farm Tour
Then we had to shower into the farm (we also had to shower out.) This meant leaving our clothes in a locker room, washing our hair and bodies, then putting on provided under garments and “coveralls.” I’ll be honest it was exactly as intense as it sounds.
We also got to see colored piglets and the size they would be when just about ready to be weaned from their mother.
Honestly, the piglets were WAY cuter than I expected, I kind of want one. How do you think Nala would feel about that?
- Wild boars and pigs are naturally scavengers.
- Indoor facilities were built to protect the pigs from harsh weather conditions and disease.
- Indoor facilities lower mortality rate from harsh weather conditions and disease.
- Indoor facilities make producing leaner meat possible because of a controlled temperature (less need for fat insulation.)
- Mother pigs are kept in a space big enough for them to stand up and lay down during labor and while lactating (known as gestation stalls or pens). This is done to prevent them from laying on the piglets which causes for a large percentage of piglet mortality.
- Piglets are weaned at 12-15lbs or about 21 days.
- During gestation, mother pigs are kept in pens of 12, with those of their same gestation as well as general size.
- Feeding is done once a day to decrease stress on the animals, this is the time they are most likely to fight.
- Other than feeding time, mama pigs chose to lay and cuddle together in the pens.
- The facility was extremely clean and the staff showed a great deal of affection and respect for all the animals.
DuPont Round Table & Tour
We also toured Dupont. We got to ask a lot of questions of the engineers there and meet some of the research team. One of the most exciting things I saw was their commitment to global health. Through their research, they were able to increase the nutrients that the sorghum plant supplies, greatly decreasing nutrient deficiencies in Africa.
This tour put me out of my comfort zone and I’m glad it did, it was definitely fun to meet the baby pigs! Thank you to USFRA for sponsoring my travel and providing such an amazing experience!
Have you ever been on a farm tour?
Piglets adorable or no?