Transport pigs properly and prepare for their arrival

Safely transporting pigs from one facility to another is a necessity of modern day pork production. As with any change to routine, the stress of handling, riding on trucks and being introduced to new surroundings can temporarily stall performance and even create setbacks in young pigs. Rick Purnell provides tips to keep your pigs safe throughout the transportation process.
calendar icon 12 December 2017
clock icon 3 minute read

Dehydration is one of the primary challenges pigs face at weaning and post-transport. Keeping them hydrated is essential to maintaining growth attained to date and to get them eating upon arrival at weaning facilities.

Feed intake immediately post-weaning is highly correlated to water consumption, according to Dr. Darrell Neuberger, technical services veterinarian with Tonisity, Inc. He says the faster pigs eat and drink upon arrival, the better their performance will be in the first few days after weaning and through finishing.

Cold weather also adds to transport stress,” Neuberger says. “Research from Texas Tech University shows that pigs can get too cold when temperatures are merely below 50° Fahrenheit. That’s why it is important to follow guidelines provided by the Pork Checkoff’s Transportation Quality Assurance program and transport pigs at the right density and in clean trailers with proper bedding. It is also critical to prepare pigs to travel and to help them eat upon arrival.

Neuberger suggests offering pigs Px, an isotonic protein drink for pigs, one to two days before transport. It has key amino acids and is specifically formulated to enhance cellular function in the small intestine. This helps pigs absorb more nutrients than they would without it and helps keep them hydrated before and during transport.

Upon arrival at weaning facilities, Neuberger recommends following label directions and providing Px immediately and again within a few hours.

We invest a lot to get these pigs to a healthy weaning stage,” Neuberger says.

Maintaining that healthfulness is a lot easier when they are hydrated and eat properly. Hydrated cells carry nutrients throughout the body much more efficiently than those in pigs that haven’t been drinking enough water. This lets them use more energy to build muscle and stay healthy through the finishing stage.

He stresses that Px be included with proper transport protocols. Resources about proven transport methods are available from Pork Checkoff and the Pork Information Gateway.

As reported by Rick Purnell, RPR Company.

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