The Nursery Barn
At 3-4 weeks of age, weaned piglets are moved into nursery pens where they are housed with pigs of the same size and age. Here, weanlings are provided with fresh water and feed at all times.
Farmers walk through the nursery pens routinely to make sure the pigs are eating regularly and adjusting well. To ensure weanling comfort, the nursery is kept very warm, at 24-30˚C (75-86˚F). Weanlings are protected from drafts, while fresh air circulates through the barn.
These group pens can contain as few as 10 or as many as 300 pigs! This is the first time a pig gets to socialize with pigs from other litters. Their social interactions can include playing, nosing, chewing and fighting. When the pigs are first put together, they will fight a little among themselves to figure out which pigs are in charge in the pens. This is normal behaviour for pigs. Once they get their “pecking order” sorted out, fighting diminishes.
Farmers often provide pigs with some enrichment to keep them occupied, decreasing destructive behaviour and opportunities for “bullying.” Weanlings remain in the nursery barn for 5-8 weeks. During this time, weanlings grow from about 6 kg (13 lb) up to about 26-30 kg (57-66 lb).