BPEX blog

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Think like a pig

Alan Stewart from Harper Adams was viewing the world through the eyes of a pig at the Shropshire Pig Club, led by Miriam Parker MBE, LivestockWise Ltd.

Miriam got the group to think like a pig to help producers develop handling systems that keep pigs in their ‘comfort zone’ and are less stressful to both the animal and handler.

She discussed ways to reduce or make handling easier when moving pigs around the unit, including using weighing systems. Producers should walk the route and think like a pig to try and identify areas that will stop the pigs moving forward eg:

• drains, objects or chains to explore
• sharp bends
• poor lighting – either too bright or too dark

One of the producers said afterwards, “I will be reviewing the way I load my pigs!”

There is more information in BPEX Work Instruction 7: Loading and unloading pigs, available from: www.bpex.org.uk/publications/WorkInstructions.aspx

Friday, 9 December 2011

Split suckling explained

We've just added a new video to the BPEX website which shows Tom Lloyd from the Hartpury College Pig Unit demonstrating split suckling and explaining the suckling pattern on the unit.
Split suckling takes Tom about 10 minutes per suckling shift to sort out the litters and the benefits he has seen include:

  • Piglets receive a good intake of colostrum

  • Mortality is reduced

  • Good for staff morale

Watch the video and listen to Tom explaining the system by clicking here.

Friday, 2 December 2011

100 producers hear about euthanasia

Two euthanasia workshops in Yorkshire drew in 100 pig producers to hear from Charlie Mason from the Humane Slaughter Association.

Charlie explained the different methods of euthanasia, best practice, the importance of cleaning and maintenance, and the legal and licensing requirements.

It was clear that this is a complicated area, so producers must follow the recommendations in the Pig Veterinary Society (PVS) booklet 'The Casualty Pig' when determining whether a sick or injured pig should be treated or euthanased. Euthanasia methods must be in accordance with the recommendations in the 'The Casualty Pig' booklet. Ask your vet for a copy or email: office@pigvetsoc.org.uk

Producers took away useful guidance notes and certificates of attendance, which are useful to have, as some of them had been asked by assurance scheme auditors if they had done any euthanasia training.

For further information about dispatching pigs on-farm please speak to your vet or contact
Charlie Mason: 07798 815527

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Monitor sows at farrowing - don't be without a disc

Robin Brice is one of many producers now using BPEX’s farrowing discs. Showing them in use in the farrowing house, he told us "We wouldn’t be without them. I bet BPEX has sent out thousands of them!”

The requests have certainly been coming in. Producers who would like to order some, free of charge, can call 0247 647 8792 or email kt@bpex.org.uk

The disc is simple to use and helps monitor sows' progress at farrowing. There are three coloured circles on the disc, one to mark the time over the course of 12 hours, the second to record how many piglets were born alive at the time they were last checked and the third to mark how many piglets were born dead.

Three movable arrows are used to show the sow’s latest progress, so all staff know how she is getting on and can provide the right management for her and her piglets.