CANADA - The barn manager with Starlight Colony is advising swine producers and transporters to take extra care in ensuring transportation equipment is working properly during extremely cold weather, writes Bruce Cochrane.
With the colder weather now upon us concerns among pork producers over animal welfare during transport are heightened.
James Hofer, the barn manager with Starlite Colony at Starbuck, Manitoba notes hogs face an increased risk of frostbite during transport when temperatures dip below minus 20.
James Hofer-Starlite Colony:
Hog are very susceptible to cold weather because having been in a controlled environment all their life they don't get to grow an extra coat of hair like the wild animals do in the wild to protect against cold so animals in transport have to be kept warm.
The producer or the transporter has to make sure that he understands the loading densities and how many vents to keep open.
When the temperature dips down to minus 20 degrees or lower then producers need to add straw.
Straw is more fluffy and creates a better cushion along the corners and the outside perimeters of the truck.
The responsibility is very clearly on the transporter.
During loading and unloading they need to make sure that equipment, everything is serviced and works properly.
The gating, sometimes after washes gates can get frozen and don't work properly so it's very good when producers can dry their equipment and make sure that everything works properly.
Mr Hofer says producers and transporters are very aware of potential hazards when transporting hogs during cold weather but it doesn't hurt to remind everyone to be a little more aware of the conditions.
ThePigSite News Desk