In the last month I shipped to two groups of pigs to be processed at the slaughterhouse. The couple with a trailer that I hired to help me have been super stars and I'm very thankful I found them.
Getting pigs on a trailer when they don't want to go is rough. It's one of the most nerve-racking tasks on the farm.
The first group took us about 5 hours of cajoling, nudging, strategic placement of food and creative use of pallets. The pigs weigh more than 300 lbs at this point - picking them up and throwing them into the trailer is not an option.
It was the first time I tried to load pigs in this location. I built a little chute for the pigs to guide them from the pen to the trailer, but there were major design flaws to be worked out.
It was difficult to gauge how exactly the trailer would sit in that spot before the day of. It turns out the trailer was pretty high off the ground and the pigs required two steps to get themselves up there. I cobbled together steps from pieces of an old goat milking set up leftover from previous farmers on the property.
Another key piece was making the entrance to the trailer a funnel that the pigs could not turn around in. If the only way out is forward the trailer becomes a much more desirable destination for the pigs. We figured out how to lash the pallets together with zip ties to make rigid walls for the funnel and use pallets with two humans behind them to make it impossible for the pig to turn around.
The second batch of pigs went much smoother and it only took us 2.5 hours to load them. The night before the pigs had to go I was nauseous with anxiety. It was such a relief; It felt like a huge win to have made a system work so much better.
Leanna at Four Legs Farm