The Feeder Barn
After leaving the nursery barn, pigs are moved to the feeder barn for 3-4 months, until they reach market weight. Pigs destined for market represent over 95% of all pigs born. These pigs are raised together in open, group pens for their entire lives!
Feeder pigs choose how much to eat and usually consume 2-3 kg (4.4-6.6 lb) of feed daily. When feeder pigs reach a market weight of 120-130 kg (264-286 lb), farmers move them on to special trucks to take them to market. There are strict rules for trucking pigs, and drivers are well trained to handle, care for and transport the pigs.
The Nutrient Cycle: Manure Matters!
Since their feed isn’t rationed, feeder pigs collectively produce more manure than any other age class. Farmers collect manure in holding pits beneath the barn and routinely transfer it to outdoor storage facilities. Since hog manure is prized as a valuable organic fertilizer and soil conditioner, farmers incorporate it into their fields to help crops grow. This is done in a sustainable manner, in accordance with government approved manure management plans and numerous regulations governing the handling of manure. In turn, harvested crops may become feed for livestock or turned into food for human consumption. This recycling of manure nutrients for crop production is referred to as the “nutrient cycle.”