Loading Pigs REALLY FAST

Next in our series of sped-up videos shot from the top of farm vehicles, here’s us loading the first two or three pigs onto our trailer for the trip to the butcher this Monday. Then the battery in my camera died.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/29091731 w=640&h=360]

This may seem like a pretty low-tech affair, but the corral and chute system we’re using now is highly evolved and the result of many dusty and exhausting hours spent not being successful getting pigs onto trailers. At first we built square corrals with a chute on one side. Then we realized the chute works better in a corner. Then we learned that the ramps into the trailer should have sides because pigs don’t like heights. Then we started making curved corrals so there aren’t any corners to get pigs stuck in.

By the time we did the last batch of last year, we loaded 11 gigantic porkers onto our trailer in under ten minutes and felt pretty clever indeed. The load you see here is a bit trickier because we’re working hard to get the largest (also most dominant and ornery) pigs out of the herd and onto the trailer first so we can get the others properly fattened as well – not that any of these pigs is lacking in size.

We’ve also figured out a few distinct loading jobs. This time Elise was luring pigs to the ramp with feed, then gating the trailer door so the pigs on the trailer can’t get back off even when more are getting on. I was corralling pigs to the chute (the easy job.) Tom did the majority of ooshing pigs up the ramp and admitted to being a bit sore the next morning.

The next refinement we’ve talked about is splitting the corral in half so we can sort the pigs better in a situation like this and making better use of the gate at the top of the chute – it’s a bit hard to see, but there’s a part of a hog panel jutting up at the corner of the trailer in the video which can be opened to let an unwanted hog off the ramp so it doesn’t get into the trailer. Obviously that wasn’t a problem this time.

One Response to Loading Pigs REALLY FAST

  1. Ann says:

    I love the videos and the fun (yet informative) narrative. Good job all of you at Blue Heron Farm!