Handling a stressed-out pig can be a lot like dealing with a hysterical person. Pigs are intelligent creatures, but when they are afraid they can become very excitable and erratic. When new animals are introduced to their habitat or when pigs are moved, as from a farm to the slaughterhouse, they become frightened by the change and secrete hormones that negatively affect the grade of the meat. Applying soothing techniques will not only help you deal with the pigs, it will also maintain the high quality of the pork.
Things You'll Need
- Soft music
- Tryptophan supplements
Keep the pigs calm by remaining calm yourself. Speak softly to them, especially when trying to move them in and out of their pen. Do not become frustrated and yell or make sudden moves toward them. Stand to the side of the pigs rather than behind them, so they can watch you as they move to where you want them to go.
Give the pigs apples as a treat. Place uncut, unpeeled apples in the pig's feeding trough. Hide them in the pig's straw and let them root the apples out. Make a game of it by hiding the apples in your pocket or bag and let the pigs find them.
Soothe excited pigs with music. Play soft music as if for a napping child, and it will have a similar calming effect on your pigs. Place a portable radio in the pig's stalls or near the slaughtering pens. Maintain a constant flow of music for up to one day before slaughtering to reduce the pigs' overall anxiety levels.
Add or increase the amount of tryptophan, the amino acid abundant in Thanksgiving turkeys, in the pig's daily diet for an overall calmer pig. Start this practice when the pigs are young for best results, especially female pigs.
Walk through the pig's pen several times per week. Let the pigs become familiar with you, and they will have a calmer response and make fewer escape attempts when you handle and move them.