6 Things You Didn't Know About Sow Farms

posted on Monday, June 17, 2019 in AMVC Employee Blog

1. You must shower in and out. 

Pig farmers care about the health of their animals. It is more enjoyable to care for healthy pigs than sick ones, so farmers put biosecurity measures in place to protect the health of their animals. Diseases can be transported very easily, so to prevent an illness from entering the farm, all employees and visitors shower in and out of the barns. Laundry is even done on site!  

One of our employee performing an ultrasound.2. Pigs receive individual care. Every day. 

No matter how large the farm is, every animal is given care multiple times throughout day. The use of individual stalls or small pens allows farmers to easily see how an animal is doing and monitor its health. These stalls provide space for the sow, as well as, individual feeders for the sow to have no competition while eating. When each animal is housed in stalls or small groups, employees can care for the pigs easier.  

3. You can jump right in. 

To be a swine specialist, you do not need any formal training in pig farming. Our employees are certified in Pork Quality Assured (PQA) before starting on-site. Our employees have various experience with raising animals, as some were raised on a farm and started working with us right out of high school, while others have a non-agriculture background and started working with us at the age of 40.  

Several of our employees4. Farms keep track of tons of data. Tons.  

On the sow farm, each sow receives a sow card. These cards act as a medical history document showcasing previous farrows. This data allows an employee to know what kind of care the sow will need when she farrows again. Notes are recorded on the card, so employees know which pigs to give extra attention to and when they received it. 

5. All the magic happens under one roof. 

Pigs are raised indoors to protect them from weather extremes, predators and disease.  Breed-to-wean barns house the whole birthing process under one roof. Gilts and sows are bred by artificial insemination, gestate for about 114 days and then farrow, or give birth. On any given day, litters of piglets are being born!  

One of our barn teams6. Every barn has their own style. 

There are all sizes of sow farms in our system, ranging in size from 1,200 head to 10,000 head. Each farm is under the direction of a manager. Depending on the barn size, the flow of the farm will vary. Some farms will wean piglets multiple times per week, while other farms wean just once a month.