Loading and moving pigs can be a complicated task. For starters, they have to be rounded up and loaded into a transport truck or trailer, which is not always an easy task. This in itself can be difficult to accomplish, setting the tone for the remainder of what might ultimately be a tough journey.
Photo: Kilchoan Diary
Whether you move pigs about to show, to take to the market, or because you buy and/or sell, it is a necessity that you be able to load them when the need arises. In order to get pigs loaded quickly and effectively, many tactics have been used over time. Some people have grabbed ahold of an ear and tried to guide the pig to into an awaiting chariot. Others have tried backing them or even lifting them. This is back-breaking work, and at the end of the day it still may not have been effective. You could try to wait your pigs out in a battle of wills, but that is also unlikely to work.
Have you ever really not wanted to do something? You can wait all day to avoid doing something you do not want to do. Pigs are much the same. Since it is fairly easy for a pig to become spooked, after which calming back down can take time, there has to be an easier, less stressful way to load them...and there is! It is a bit of a commitment, but one that pays off in the end. This measure can also be used with other livestock that is difficult to load as well. Training animals to learn to self-load is best all around!
Photo: Youtube Hmonghot
Food is the greatest motivator among animals. They are often willing to do things for food that they will not do in other circumstances. Take advantage of the food drive of your pigs and make loading a part of feeding. If they want to eat, make it so they need to load to do so. Since it is not always practical to park your means of transport in a location where pigs can go in to eat, simulate loading in other ways. Build a ramp to an elevated trough that pigs must scale in order to eat. Before you know it, loading will become second nature and the battle of wills shall become a thing of the past. You will be able to stay cleaner in addition to not working yourself to the point of exhaustions and stress on the part of pigs will be eliminated, making transport and travel less of a headache for you both.
Photo: Coal Creek Farm
Do you have any tried and true loading methods you use for your pigs? Are there methods you suggest or advice against? Let us know in the comments!