Livestock farmers must address different types of farmer safety issues beyond those of the modern crop producer. When working with swine, caretakers deal with an intelligent, gregarious being with a long memory. Calm treatment and regular positive interaction quickly establish the pigs’ good behavior habits.
A 2006 12-week study showed that when a human walked through the pigs’ pens three times a week, 50% of them showed reduced flight behavior in seven weeks. Only 20% of the pigs who had been walked through one time per week exhibited reduced flight response in seven weeks. Swine producers know that slowly walking pens regularly will help pigs become accustomed to positive interactions with people.
Some stages of swine production produce different kinds of safety issues.
Working With Live Animals
- Handling piglets during post-farrowing health care can cause the sows to become agitated. If the pigs begin to squirm and make noise, the sow will respond to protect her young. Caretakers working with young pigs should keep a sorting panel close to block the sow from causing injury.
- With the exception of young piglets and nursery pigs, most of the animals on the hog farm outweigh the caretaker. Steel-toed footwear is a must. In both Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA+) and Transport Quality Assurance (TQA) certification education for producers, the most highly recommended animal-handling implement is a solid sorting panel. The panel ensures the safety of both caretaker and pig.
- Although many swine operations today conduct reproduction through artificial insemination, most still have a few boars on the farm for heat detection. A large sexually mature male animal on the farm should be moved and handled with caution and protection. Again, the solid sorting panel is the tool of choice when moving boars.