Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Retail weaner pigs - odd question

This is the HOT time to be selling small pigs.  A "weaner" pig is one that has just been weaned off the sow and is eating solid food -- ready to go to its new home.    We have 500 weaner pigs that are a few weeks from being weaned, and I'm working on selling them to all sorts of different folks who want to raise their own pigs.   Busy time. 

I think that I've answered 70 weaner-pig related emails today; most are pretty simple; what breed of pig, how old are they, how much do they weigh, do you have any pigs left..  all sorts of questions.  But one email stood out because I just didn't understand what they were looking for. 

"Have your pigs been vaccinated, and how are they housed?" 

Ok, the vaccination question I understand, but this is the first time I've been asked that by maybe 200 people who've emailed me this year.   About the only reason I can think of to ask that is if the farm that is buying the pigs has an issue with something and needs animals that are vaccinated against that.   Most people who buy pigs don't ask that answer.  In fact, this is the first time that I've been asked that question by anyone, and I've sold hundreds of weaners this year already. 

" are they housed?"

This is an odd question.    I explained that small pigs need shelter at this time of year, and that the pigs are only a week or two old (the ones that I'm advertising) and that they need shelter and warmth because they're just little guys. 

I also included a link to the blog (Hi if you're reading this!) but I'm not sure what they're asking.  What response would make them happy?  What would make them unhappy? 

Odd question. 


Sophie - The Joy of Farming said...

Could be that they're looking for unvaccinated piglets raised predominately outdoors. That's how I interpret the questions.

becky3086 said...

Maybe they are wondering what kind of housing they will need themselves or maybe they had a bad experience before like they went to buy pigs from a farm where they pigs were kept in unsanitary conditions.
I am quite pleased with who I bought my pigs from. Seeing that farm was one of the nicest experiences for me. I am not sure if I asked all the right questions though. I really have no idea if they were vaccinated. I frankly never knew they needed to be. I did not ask about housings since I had done my research ahead of time but I will say that the farmer did ask me about how well I was set up to receive my pigs and did I have good enough fencing. The fact that he cared enough to ask made me feel he definitely cared about where his pigs were going to end up.
Anyway, I love reading your blog. I would just love to have a small farm someday but until then...I'll just learn from yours.

Joanne said...

Are there any standard vaccintaions that are given to piglets? I'm thinking along the lines of standard vac for other livestock like horses, calves, lambs and goat kids. For lambs and kids it's things like the CD&T vaccination. For horses there are vaccinations that are pretty standard for diseases like rhino, eastern and western equine encephalitis, west nile virus, etc.

On the houseing, given the fact that you have so many pigs, perhaps the person thinks you're housing them in an indoor intensive system like the midwest growers for the big processors do. If the person is familiar with your blog and farm they I can't think that they'd ask a question like that because they'd already know how you house the pigs.

Barefoot Farm and Flowers said...

I know that kids who need piglets for the fair are required to have them vaccinated. They usually do it themselves if the piglets don't come pre-vaccinated.

Kelly Johnson said...

I know that if I went to buy feeder pigs and they were housed completely indoors in a heated pig parlor I would thank him for his time and move on to somewhere else. At one time, here in the south, many farmers had lots of money in heated housing for their pigs. Generations of indoor living would mean the pigs would not do well in a pasture/woods setting. Im actually going to pick up a couple today from a pastured herd.

On a seperate note. I lost a feeder pig yesterday to tetnus. Im wondering if this is going to be a problem this year due to the extremely mild winter we had this year in the south. Any thoughts from anyone on this?

Joanne said...

I vaccinate for tetanus (that's what the CD&T vaccine is for - colostridium and tetanus). It's important for animals that will be docked or castrated but I'm working with lambs and kids. I have a vet friend who's daughters are bottle feeding a couple of veal calves that I'll be grass finishing this year, and I think she vaccinated them for tetanus.

I have horses too and I've always been told that horses are a great reservoir for tetanus, so I make sure that I'm vaccinated for tetanus too. Having been through blood poisoning several times, I'm kind of cautious around things like tetanus, etc. Vaccination for me is cheap insurance. No vaccine is 100% but it sure beats loosing an animal, especially if you don't have very many.

off grid mama said...

I agree with Sophie. I would ask those questions as I am an organic operation. However, I farrow outdoors on pasture and no vaccines. If I were buying weaners I'd look for pastured hogs without vaccinations.