Improving Hog Health on Your Farm
More than 65,000 pig farms are in the United States, raising pork to meet a variety of consumer needs. No matter the type or size of the operation, they all must meet the same basic standards of animal agriculture to preserve the health of their livestock and the quality of the product they produce.
While summer brings beautiful sunny days and vibrant colors, it is also accompanied by higher temperatures. Summer heat significantly increases the chances of infectious diseases and may pose other threats to the overall health of your hogs. With summer in full swing, now is the time to ensure your animals are protected.
Consistent Water Access
Water accessibility is vital for livestock health. A pig can lose most of its fat and half its body protein without dying, but if it loses as little as 10% of its water content, death quickly follows. Climbing temperatures increase the amount of water needed to keep pigs healthy. A newly weaned pig must consume at least one liter of water daily, and full-grown hogs need up to eight liters. The need for water grows as the pigs exert energy and significantly increases in lactating sows.
Having consistent access to clean water is vital to maintaining the health of your pigs. During the summer, increase the number of water sources on your farm and make sure all are regularly cleaned and maintained.
Prevent Foreign Animal Diseases
In the summer heat, disease can spread quickly and wreak havoc on your farm. The U.S. pork industry works closely with government officials to protect U.S. farms from the significant threat posed by foreign animal diseases (FAD), such as African swine fever, foot-and-mouth disease and classical swine fever.
One of the best ways to protect your operation from disease is to practice good biosecurity. Pork Checkoff’s seven steps to start your biosecurity plan are simple but effective ways to protect the health of your business and livestock:
- Draw lines of separation
- Establish requirements for clothing and showering
- Keep up with maintenance
- Share farm rules with incoming crews
- Prioritize loadouts
- Avoid mistakes bringing in supplies
- Follow biosecurity plan when removing culls and mortalities
Avoid Heat Stress
Due to the inability to sweat, pigs are more susceptible to heat stress than other livestock. This places them at greater risk of health and production problems, leading to millions of dollars in revenue losses to swine producers annually. Throughout the summer, stay on the lookout for signs of heat stress by checking for sunburn, extreme thirst, loss of appetite or excessive panting.
To protect your animals, make sure they are able to cool off when necessary. Provide hogs with easy access to shady, cool areas and consider running a hose through your pastures to create artificial wells for hogs to splash in.
Raising happy, healthy hogs is every pig farmer’s goal. However, the unthinkable can happen to even the most prepared operation. At James Allen Insurance, we are here to protect you and your animals with our variety of FAD and Farm and Ranch policies.