When you have livestock, you’re bound to have manure – or with any animal for that matter! Because we keep all our pigs indoors, it means that they also defecate indoors; and as you can imagine, that means work for us!
In our farrowing rooms, all our sows are kept in farrowing crates (I will talk more about these in the future!), which have a slated floor (meaning the floor has narrow holes in it – similar to a concrete grate you might see on a city sidewalk). The slated floor allows the manure to drop between the slates and into themanure pit beneath the barn. The slates keep the farrowing crates free of manure, and much cleaner for the sow and her piglets.
However, before the pregnant sow even enters the farrowing rooms, the crates and entire room must be washed and sanitized completely. Washing and sanitizing properly is extremely important to reduce the risk of spreading any diseases or bugs that may have been in the room. Think about it like going to a hotel; after someone’s stay is over, the towels and bed sheets are replaced. Essential, that is what we are doing. We are cleaning and disinfecting the farrowing crate for the new sow, just like the hotel staff would have done for you!
To wash and disinfect the farrowing rooms, we use a high powered pressure washer, much like one you may use for washing your vehicle with – but much stronger! The pressure washer allows us to get off all the dust and manure as quickly and easily as possible. While washing, we are sure to wash the top, bottom, sides, floor, walls, feed trough, and every little inch of each farrowing crate! It is essential to be very thorough, otherwise you run the risk of the sow or piglets getting sick with something that the sow or piglets who had previously been in that crate had. One good example of this is a case of scours (diarrhea). If a litter of piglets has scours, and the crate is not properly cleaned and sanitized, the next litter of piglets that areborn in that crate will likely get scours; the cleaner, the better!
Pigs are clean animals, much to the contraire of what most people think, and we do our best to ensure that they are kept that way. A clean crate to farrow in and a clean trough to eat and drink out of are extremely important – it’s our job to make sure each sow’s need for a clean environment is met.