Interest in Low Stress Swine Handling Training

CANADA - A Saskatchewan-based low stress pig handling trainer reports improvements in hog markets are fueling renewed interest in techniques designed to make the job of moving pigs easier, according to Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 16 June 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

Low stress swine handling techniques harness the natural instincts and behaviors of the pig to make the job of moving the animals easier.

Nancy Lidster, a low stress pig handling trainer with White Fox, Saskatchewan based DNL Farms, says those who have been introduced to these techniques tend to find them very useful.

Nancy Lidster-DNL Farms

Over the last couple of years the economics have been so tight and so negative that people haven't been prepared to spend money on training and I think that they're starting to see that there's a little bit more wiggle room there and the handling has such a huge impact on time spent, on things like staff turn over, staff injuries, health of pigs, productivity, performance, the whole range right up to meat quality.

Any handlers that are really struggling with moving pigs from a nursery into a finisher where they're bunching up and stuff like that, they desperately want to be able to do their work more easily.

Once they see techniques that work for them they can save a huge amount of time and it takes the process of doing your daily work from being a source of frustration and sense of inadequacy to turning it into a process where it's just tremendously rewarding.

When you can set up the movement and get animals to do what you want and flow for you and move for you it takes jobs that are just a real chore and turns them into something we enjoy doing.

We feel go about the job we're doing, we feel good about the animals we're moving and we feel better about ourselves as well and so there's just a huge array of benefits there.

Ms Lidster notes most of the problems associated with moving pigs are the result of fear and handlers need to be able to recognise fear and when to back off.

She says, in a lot of cases, the positioning of the handler will make the difference between whether or not the pigs go where they need to go.

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