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Moving and transporting pigs

  • Pigs are den-living, home-loving individuals with a poor herding response.
  • They dislike being moved, especially from dark into bright light.
  • In panic they will scatter and race back to their den (pen)
  • Loading and unloading pigs for transport, if done incorrectly, can be a stressful activity for the pigs and may result in injury. Bruising, and injuries from having limbs caught in gaps and/or aggression between pigs are all possibilities if pigs are loaded incorrectly or in a hurry.
  • Suggestions for loading pigs for transport:
    • Mixing unfamiliar pigs on the transport vehicle should be avoided.
    • Reduce feed but keep on full water before transport.
    • Move them in the early morning.
    • Don’t attempt to rush them or punish them.
    • Give them time to investigate the situation.
    • They’ll go better up a ramp rather than down one.
    • Keep the ramp sides fully covered.
    • Spread bedding on the ramp.
    • Use a feed trail in the direction you want them to go.
    • Use a hand-held board for coaxing or to block their direction.
  • Don’t beat them or drag them by their ears or tail.
  • Awkward individuals can be reversed with a bucket over the nose and eyes.
  • If a total shambles develops - go and have a cup of tea and let things settle. By the time you return, they’ll be in the truck on their own!
  • Suggestions for transporting pigs:
    • Provide plenty of ventilation during the trip.
    • Avoid transporting in temperatures above 22° Celcius.
    • Park in the shade on hot days. Don’t park for long periods.
    • Avoid physical exertion and excitement.
    • Don’t feed pigs during the 12 hours before transport.
    • Avoid transporting breeds and strains prone to stress.

Reference: MPI Code of Welfare for Pigs, and the Code of Welfare Transport within New Zealand available on the website www.mpi.govt.nz/animal-welfare

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