Farmscape for October 3, 2023
|Full Interview 8:15||Listen|
A livestock handling specialist with J Woods Livestock Services says, by moving pigs in smaller groups, handlers can speed up the loading and loading of pigs. The topic, “Why Pigs Do What They Do, Not What We Want Them To Do” will be discussed as part of Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium 2023 November 7th and 8th in Saskatoon. Jennifer Woods, a livestock handling specialist with J Woods Livestock Services, says, when it comes to moving pigs, the key to success is to understand their behavior and to take time to learn their motivations.
Quote-Jennifer Woods-J Woods Livestock Services:
You really need to be tuned into the animal so you need to be watching the animals. What is the animal watching, what are they balking at, what are they seeing? I always tell people “look at what they’re looking at, not at what you’re looking at.”
So, understanding that. Looking at yourself, where are you standing? Based on your position, what are you actually telling them to do? Letting the animals tell you where they want to go.
This works with kids. I always say that, everything I teach you in livestock handling applies to children also.
You’re going to be way more successful if they think it’s their idea. So, step back and give them time to see where they want to go and make the decision on their own to go that way and then they’ll be way more willing to go. We always think we’re going to get things done faster the more we move and, with pigs, that does not work. Pigs actually move faster in smaller groups.
You can move pigs and load pigs much quicker if you work them in several small groups than trying to move a whole bunch of them at one time and that’s just so counterintuitive to what we do, and how we even handle people. We think, the more we move at one time the faster we’re going to get it done and that doesn’t really apply to pigs, so understanding those things that do seem counterintuitive but really do work with livestock.
Woods says, with pigs in particular, low stress handling will result faster and more efficient loading and unloading, fewer animals becoming fatigued because of stress which will mean less bruising and less chance of meat quality issues and calm quiet handling is less stressful and much safer for the handler.
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