loading pigs

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by jackie c, Sep 8, 2004.

  1. jackie c

    jackie c Well-Known Member

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    OK, now the fun starts. My pigs will be ready to go to the abbatoir at the end of October. Can you all give me some pointers on loading and transporting? I'll have to rent or borrow some kind of trailer, my problem is loading, I'm a bit intimidated. I want to get a good grasp on what i'm in for before this move takes place. How long will it take to load 5 pigs if everthing goes fairly smoothly. Should I load them up the night before?
     
  2. bare

    bare Head Muderator

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    Better start a couple days before...search this site for others' past experiences.

    A lot is going to depend on your facility. Are the hogs just on pasture? What kind of fencing. Can you borrow a low horse trailer?
     

  3. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    My pigs never see a trailer until it is their time to go. We move the trailer to the gateway of their pen so they can't go anywhere but up or back. I with hold feed for 24 hours and then provide them with a small bowl of their favorite stuff. While they're eating I grab the ears and someone pushes from behind. I pull and move the bowl forward. Voila! Last one weighed in at exactly 250 lbs. I think a lot has to do with one's daily interaction with them. Mine follow me quite easily. But Bare is right. Experiences vary and there are eye-opening posts on this site if you do a search. Best wishes.
     
  4. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    People who load lots of hogs all have a narrow alley way to force them into the truck trailer or whatever. If they must step up more than a few inches they need something to creat a ramp. Sometimes a bale of hay or such will work. Of course most people don't have a ramp or alley, but it is a simple matter to create an alley with a couple steel or wooden gates. Place them right in their pen and put in steel posts to hold them solid. Two feet wide is enough. You don't want the hogs to be able to turn around in the alley. Let them get gosh awful hungry then sprinkle a little feed down the alley right into the trailer. Once they are all in the alley stick a couple 2x4s crossways behind them so they can't back out. Then you beat and holler and cuss till they are all inside. SLIDE THAT DOOR SHUT Now wasn't that fun.
    If you can get someone with a stock trailer to haul them for you it would be the best route. The trailers have a sliding door on the back that can be oppened and closed while the trailer is backed up to your alley. Besides that, the guy that owns the trailer most likely has experience at hollering and cussing at livestock. They won't hurt you.
     
  5. Boleyz

    Boleyz Prognosticator, Artist

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    Hi!
    I used to run a large commercial operation (100 sows, farrow to finish). If you hogs are outdoors, get some panels and create a narrowing chute toward your open trailer. Be sure to wire the gates to the trailer, because large hogs will try everything before they hop in that trailer. I'd recommend you drive them into the chute as a herd (since you've only got 5) they tend to stick together when stressed. Hopefully, when one hops in, the rest will follow. Once you get them headed into the chute, get close behind them with plywood pieces (We made some out of 1/2" Plywood, about 3' X 4' with handle holes). If you've got a shocking stick, shock the heck out of the guy in front as soon as he begins to stop or turn. THEY WILL TRY TO TURN AROUND!! Push em tight and stay right on top of them and don't let them turn. If one does turn, let him go and concentrate on getting the others in. You'll have to load him later. Once a hog turns, he will run over you. Keep the plywood between you and the hogs at all times. You will have to have at least one helper. Remember that unless you're a very large/strong man, you cannot overpower a 250 lb. hog. One of my best helpers was a large Rottweiller dog who would bark and nip at the hogs as we herded them toward the trailer. When he was behind them, they seldom tried to turn, and the dog instictively prevented them from doing so with well-applied nips. Good Luck!
     
  6. Thumper/inOkla.

    Thumper/inOkla. Well-Known Member

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    I freerange so I made a ramp from a pallet, and offered food treats until they would climb the pallet or walk up any other ramp for that matter. My pigs squeel and jump like I had a branding iron in my hand if I touch them, but they will follow me anywhere for food.
     
  7. Siryet

    Siryet In Remembrance

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    We back up the trailer (Livestock) the night before loading. Put a pallet down with a plywood board on it so the hogs can step up into the trailer.

    We withhold all feed the night before so in the morning they are a bit hungry. Wife gets into the trailer by the side door and calls the hogs and shows them the treats (Bagels and yogurt) and food. The hogs simply walk up into the trailer and when the last one is in we slide the rear door shut and they are in.

    Now I have to explain that during the season we humanize all the hogs by sitting in their pen and feeding them by hand sometimes, and a lot of scratching their backs by hand, and game playing so they are not afraid of us at all. This really pays off for us in the loading period.

    PS it wasn't always this simple. LOL :haha: :eek:
     
  8. jackie c

    jackie c Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the pointers everyone, I'm 'freindly' with my pigs, for now,he he, so they should probably be able to manipulate fairly easy with food. I'm just nervous because of some horror stories I've heard from neighbours, you know, they all go in except ONE,you know the ONE I'm talkin about, I just hope I don't have one of THOSE!! I had ONE of those when I went to pick them up, but he was invited to a nice big roast dinner party :yeeha:
     
  9. JAS

    JAS Well-Known Member

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    Haven't tried to move them up a ramp into a trailer, but one time we had to move them from a pen to another pen across the yard. At about 150/200 lbs a large bucket on their head moving them backwards using the tail as a stirring wheel. :p

    Good luck!
     
  10. landlord

    landlord Well-Known Member

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    Jackie C.: We have a facility which will hold 2000 pigs if I so choose to clean out all the building to house that many. The largest group of pigs we had was over 1100. Anyhow, we rigged up a trailer load out. We already have a stationary semi loadout. The trick is to have a solid sides if ramping them. They see any daylight at the bottom which can cause shadows, they can freak out. If you cannot squeeze them down they may make a break from you and they do remember where the weak spots are.

    We did learn to apply their current bedding on the ramps, even up the trails to where we had to herd them to the ramps. We did experiment one time and just applied it part way up the ramp. It is like they had hit a brick wall. The pigs just stopped! We just used a bucket and shoveled some loose powdery bedding into it and dumped it here and there.
    Good luck with your adventure...
     
  11. Carolinexxx

    Carolinexxx Member

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    My 2 are going on Tuesday at 4 am (how early!). So here is my plan - feel free to comment / ridicule! it is my first time;-)
    I am planning to load them into a 3.5 tonne van & am making a ramp out of 4 scaffold planks but will put some supports underneath to stop them flexing which could worry the pigs. I like the idea of scattering bedding (straw) on the ramp & floor so it looks familiar, I just hope they don't try to eat it all as they often do!! I will back the van up on Sunday & use the existing pen gate & van door on one side and another gate tied to the other side to guide them in. I am hoping I can entice them up with food. They are used to people & I was figuring on trying it on Sunday & feeding them in the van so they get used to it but not shutting the doors which could make them wary of it next time.
    A friend sent his to slaughter 2 months ago (it was his first too). Apparently she just walked up the ramp following the food bowl. I am a bit worried that with 2 one won't go in which is why I am trying a dry run. (Don't envy you with 5 on a first attempt!). I will try the scaring tactics as a last resort. I figure you can easily scare a calm pig but can't easily calm a scared pig!

    Are you supposed to have straw on the floor for the journey or does that just make them slip around more?

    Caroline
     
  12. bare

    bare Head Muderator

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    I think if it was me, I'd load 'em Sunday and just leave 'em loaded. That gives you extra time if things don't go as planned. Your gate and van door might work for a pathway, but I have found that it is a whole lot easier if you don't leave them any room to turn around (they will anyway) and to block all daylight at their level. If there is a hole and they freak out, they will try and make it bigger.

    And yeah, you can just leave the straw on the floor, they are surprisingly agile critters.
     
  13. Carolinexxx

    Carolinexxx Member

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    I think to leave them loaded from Sunday would be pushing it as they don't go until Tuesday morning. I could load them Monday night though. Are they OK to be shut in for so long? It would be 9 hours if I loaded at 8pm then 1 hour travelling at 5am. Obviously I would put water in for them. I guess over night they should be sleeping, it just doesn't seam quite right - or maybe I am being a bit soft?
     
  14. Thumper/inOkla.

    Thumper/inOkla. Well-Known Member

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    They will likey spill the water several times so just expect that, sleeping in the trailer sounds good to me they would be calmer for the trip, a few apples each to munch maybe, when they first load up, we didn't bother to fast our 1st pig before killing it, it turned out that his belly was full of wild plums, there was an boozy odor to it so we figure he was tipsy.

    Thumper
     
  15. Sam

    Sam Well-Known Member

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    Oh how this topic brings back memories! :rolleyes: My husband and I used to raise hogs when we first married. Here's what we did.... Our hog barn was built with a narrow walkway down the middle. The night before we were going to sell, we set up a loading chute (hubby and my FIL made it) with the bottom end next to the walkway opening. (We also had to leave the door to the walkway open because at this point, it would not close). Then, we would put the tailgate of the pickup down and back the truck up to the other end of the loading chute. (We took them on a pickup truck with racks on it). We put board over any openings between the chute and the pickup truck bed. Then we would take some hay and scatter it all up the loading chute and put more hay in the bed of the truck. The next morning, BEFORE DAYLIGHT, we would go down to the barn set up the stall doors where the pigs could only go toward the ramp. We went inside of the pen and drove them out toward the loading chute. On many occassions I can remember the head hog getting at the bottom of the chute and going no further!! It is at that point that you are hollering for them to move on, using a hotshot if you have one or using a stick to strike the back or the ham of the little darlings. :yeeha: :D Hubby was always in the back with a board (like someone else spoke about).... his was about a half an inch thick. The top edge was rounded into an arch shape and had the handles cut out of the top where you could hold on to it easily. It was also necessary to have strong legs with which to press against the bottom to keep the pigs from turning around (and they will if they get a chance!!). It was important to load before daylight so that the pigs would not be allowed to see cracks of light coming in (as someone said before, because they may freak out). As for food, if they wanted to eat, they could munch on the hay bedding but we let them eat all they wanted the night before.

    Hubby just came by and asked me what I was doing... I told him and he suggested that since this is your first time, you may want to load the night before (after dark). You can put feed and water in the trailier for them overnight.

    Good Luck!!
     
  16. Carolinexxx

    Carolinexxx Member

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    If it is after dark when I load are they still likely to try to chew things - like the wheel arches of the van!
     
  17. Carolinexxx

    Carolinexxx Member

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    Well enticing them up the ramp with food does work for 2 pigs but don't feed them the feed before! We tried a dummy run on Sunday & although got one in straight away with an apple, we got no interest from the second. I didn't feed them on Monday morning but left the van open & food in it. They hadn't been in, but when I got home around 6pm (their normal 2nd feed time) they followed a food bowl up easily. I then took water to them every couple of hours until around 10pm. If I had of left it there they would have tipped it within a few minutes & then been thirsty. It might have been different at 4am but having seen how easily they went up & would load them the next morning. They may have had lots of straw to absorb things but it certainly smelt the next day even though all the windows were open!
    One thing, to start with we had not put enough batons on the ramp (one every 8") so they slipped. I would suggest one every 4" or something to ensure they can't slip as this make them nervy.

    Good luck with yours

    Caroline