How to take care, feed, and do with your show pig. What and how much to feed your pig, along with training, daily care, biosecurity and record keeping.
Welcome to the extension connection podcast. Grant County cooperative extension service is here to help connect you with research based information about economic development, energy and water farming , ranch, yard , and garden, natural resources, health, and wellbeing, and our very popular youth development program 4-H. I'm your host , Jessica Swapp, the 4-H and agriculture agent here in grant County, New Mexico. We are part of New Mexico state university , college of agricultural consumer and environmental science, and we are here to serve you. So let's get started. [inaudible] Welcome back. um I'm actually doing , um, a couple of different things today. I'm recording this to put it on my podcast, so that way you can listen to it as you go down the road or on your computer while you're at work. Um , however you choose to listen to the podcast, but you can also watch a YouTube video as well. Uh, today I'm going to be covering , um , something I think is important. Um, and today I'm focusing on one species and then I'll be moving onto the others. Um, and it, what we're covering is going to be about show pigs. So you bought them now what , um, there's a lot of first time families out there, and honestly you could be doing this for several years and still learn. Um, I still learn something every year that I didn't know the year before. So I'm continually learning about these projects is , um, is part of the part of the project itself. So I'm staying up to date with the trends and , and keeping up with the, you know, how things are changing and everything like that. So , um, this is just something to kind of help you out as you go along through your projects. The outline of this program is , um, sort of talk about shell pegs. We're going to talk about feeding them, training them , um, some daily care stuff, biosecurity and record keeping . So feeding. Um, the biggest thing that I see start the year off, pretty relatively um still in the beginning , um, is that you have to have a plan. Um , you need to have a plan for brand that you're going to use , um, understanding , um, what protein levels, fat levels, lysine levels that you're going to be needing. Um, on the slide show , you can see the, the few different brands that are available out there , um, where we're at. Um, it's pretty limited in terms of which brands you can choose from. I failed to mention on here that you can also , um , I believe high pro has a show pig feed as well. So , uh, on here, I just have a few of those , uh, different brands that are out there that you can get. Um, some of them are more difficult than others to get in our area. One of the biggest things is consistency with a brand. So you don't want to be switching back and forth between, you know, a high pro and a Mormons , uh , type of feed. Um, if you're going to go with one particular feed , um, stick with it , um, unless you have to change, I wouldn't. So go ahead and just stay with the same feed that you start with. And , um , I think consistency is a big thing. Also consistency and time feeding. These hogs is very important , um, and allowing them to eat for a certain amount of time. Um, I'm going to go into this a little bit further down the line, so I'll, I'll just kind of hold off until then also you need to have a feeding area. Um, we're going to talk a little bit about that as well as hand feeding and then how much they should be eating depending on how much they weigh , uh, feeding equipment and care , um, as well as a worming or a deworming schedule and water. So these are some of the things we're going to be talking about when we , when we talk about feeding and selection. So the number one thing to think of when you're doing your brand selection for your feed is your budget. You have to feed what you can afford to feed. Um , we're feeding hogs for several months over the summer. So making sure that we can actually afford that feed to make it through the project is an important part. Access is also another part of that, having the feed available to you when you need it. Um, whether that be , um, at a local feed store, a supplier possibly ordering it , uh , you can get it by the pallet load, you know, however you choose to do that. Um, you need to have access and it needs to be fairly reasonable in terms of getting it. Then when you're understanding brand understanding the nutritional requirements of show pigs is , um, is something very important to understand? The biggest thing is that different pigs need different feed plans. No two pigs are ever built the same and they all kind of need something that feed can can offer. But just as kind of a general rule , uh, when you're starting off, we're talking about kind of that 50 pound 50 to 120 pound range, I guess you're usually going to use a 16 to an 18% protein feed , um, that has about 4 to 7% fat and about one to one and a quarter percent of losing license, a very important acid for pigs, and they need it in their diet. Um , without it, they usually die. Um, so you want to keep that in mind when you're buying your feed , um , to make sure that it has these three components in it. Um, I'm a big fan of guaranteed analysis feeds that have these numbers on the tag. I don't like to see , um, exhibitors using feeds that the tags are very vague. So perhaps, you know, a tag will say not more than 20% protein or not more than 18% protein, but it's not actually telling you how much protein is in that feed. Um, that's something that we have to know when we're feeding show pigs. So once you move out of that kind of starting off point, you're kind of going to hit the mid range, which is 120 to 210 pounds. That's kind of the top end. But once again, depending on the type of pig you have, you might be on a 16 to an 18% protein. Um, the fat content may vary very much as well, so about a 3 to an 8%. Um, and then of course you need to keep that lysine. So about 1% is usually ideal. Then when we're kind of moving into the last phase , um, this is where you can now customize your feeding program. Where are you here? We're talking about the, you know, 200, 210 to the end, the end point that you're wanting your hogs to be at. Um, every hog has a different end point . That is ideal for them understanding what that ideal end point is for them is important , um, and feeding as a strategy to get to that point. So at this particular point now, as a timing, kind of customized with supplements, if you need more muscle, you can go with higher protein. If you need more fat , um, you can add fat. Um, all those kinds of different changes can be made once again, once a brand is selected, stick to it, unless you have to, or you need to switch , um , maybe it's unavailable. Um, something like that. If you're having a bad experience, your pigs won't eat that kind of feed, whatever, whatever the situation is, just make sure that if you're going to switch feeds that you blend in the new feed with the old feeds slowly so that you can transition them over, just so that you can kind of get them back onto a good eating pattern, feeding time, consistency. This is a big thing. That's kind of overlooked pigs. And honestly, people we like to eat around the same times of day. So people we like to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and those are all set around the same time of day. So, you know, breakfast is in the morning and lunch is sometime around 11 to one and a dinner can be sometime in the evening. So pigs are the same way they get used to being fed at the same time every day. So it's important to pick times of the day that are going to be conducive to those hogs, eating the most. Um, they usually eat best during the coolest parts of the day. So yes, it's not fun to have to get up early in the summer, but , um, if we're going to have these projects, that's, that's a sacrifice that we have to make getting up in the morning and feeding from when it's cool outside. Um, and then also feeding them when it's cool in the evenings is also a very good , um, a good thing, so , uh, we'll talk about a little bit of the feeding area. So a feeding area needs to be clean. It also needs to be close to water. I don't know about anybody else, but when I'm eating, I kind of like something drink to go with my food. Uh , pigs are no different and really animals in general are not any different. I don't like to, to eat off of the, the floor in my house, but if I had to, I guess I would hope that my floor was clean and we don't feeding pigs on our , on the floor , on the ground or anything like that. But the area that they're feeding in needs to be clean , it doesn't need to be full of the manure or just, you know, crowded with, with straw or shavings or anything like that. It needs to be kept clean. Um, and then again, just making sure that it's close to water, hand feeding. I'm, I'm a big fan of hand feeding. I'm not a big fan necessarily of on the self feeders, which some people use in the use them successfully. And , um, they can be a very good tool that you can use a hand feeding is more controlled. Um, there's also a few benefits in terms of hand feeding. You can , um , observe your pigs on a daily basis twice a day. So that way you're able to kind of see them and what's going on. Um , there's also a teaming aspect goes on with that. Um , and you can also see how much they're eating every day. So you'll be able to tell the moment that , uh , a hog goes off of feed because their consumption level will go down. Um , when you're observing your pigs, some of the things to look at are their eyes, are they red? Are they goopy those types of things? Do they have any discharge from their eyes? Um , this is a good time to kind of look and watch for pink eye , watching their ears, making sure that they are , um, if they're erect ears and when they're supposed to be , um, that they are in fact direct . And if you have like a drop or a spot that you don't have , um , anything going on wrong with their ears , um, you can also check the manure. Manure is something that is important to actually , um , look at every day. Um, this, this is going to tell you a lot about the health of your hog. It's going to tell you how they're processing that feed. Um, I'm gonna ruin a food group for you right now, but it is important for you to understand this, that hogs , um, the consistency of their manure should be , um , about the consistency of a soft serve ice cream cone. Um, anything harder than that is a signal for constipation, anything , uh , looser than that, it would be a concern for diarrhea. Okay. Also something to look at is their nose. Um, do they have a runny nose? Are they having discharge out of their nose that can signal some problems? Um, just looking at their head , um, are they tilting their head? Are they walking in circles? Um, are they shaking their heads? Um, uh, a million things could lead to a pig, holding their head to their side , um, and also shaking their head. You're also going to want to be paying attention to their skin on , do they have any rashes? Are they sunburned any kind of bug bites? Just anything possibly going wrong with that skin , um, when you're feeding them as a good time to see that , um, the other thing, when you feed them, are they active? Do they get up and come to the feeder? Um , or do they lay there and act lethargic? Um, when they get up, are they looking okay? Are their joints swollen? Is there any limping, anything like that that could signal to you that we have a problem? Often times , um , identifying the problem in the beginning is pretty much a good part of the battle. And so when we can see these things, when they first start, we can get control of them a lot earlier, rather than waiting, and then noticing it days later , um, can be a little detrimental. Okay . So I get this question a lot. How much should my pigs be eating? Um, and this is really just a guide once again , um, every pig is different. Um, and so they're built different, they've got different genetics, they've got different eating habits, what they like, what they don't like. So every pig really probably should be getting fed differently for their body type. Um, however, this is kind of just a guide to go off of when they're 40 to a hundred pounds, you're looking at feeding them about 4% of their body weight, which is about a pound and a half to four pounds a day. Okay. So when they're 101 to 150, you're looking at about 3.8% of their body body weight, which is four to six pounds a day. So you can see where this continues to go up. Um, and hence why you should think about your budget when you're going to be feeding these types of feeds, just because the older they get, the more they're going to consume 150 to 200 pounds. You go down again to about 3.7, 5% of their body weight, but that is about six to seven and a half pounds a day. Um , two to 300 at our County fair. We top off at 280. So our weight breaks , um , the minimum weight for a show pig is 200 and the top end is 280. Um, but I just use 300. I'm just kind of as around, around number to , uh , put this together. And also if you move on to some of the other fairs, they do not have a maximum weight limit. So you might want to check that before you go to these specific fairs on whether they have minimums and maximums and where your pig falls into those. Um, so that 200 to 300 pounds, you're looking at about 3.5% of their body weight at that point in time, which is about seven to 11 pounds a day on. And that's quite a bit, some things that you're gonna , you're going to need to do when you're feeding your hogs. And these are so important is separate them when they eat. It's okay. If they're in a pen together all day long, hanging out, but whenever they're eating, they need to be separated. Somehow whether you separate them in two separate pens , um , you put one in the pen and one outside the pen, you get a pig board and put it between them . You can be creative and how you want to do this. Um, but just make sure to separate them. Um, if you're watching a YouTube video, you'll see, I have a , a picture of about three pigs eating out of the feeder that sat on the ground. And what happens in these types of situations is you'll have a pig that fights off for a couple pigs or so that fights off kind of the lighter weaker pig. And so the bigger pigs get bigger and the lighter pigs never do. They just kinda continue on always kind of looking a little scrawny , um , because they get beat off of the feed. So it's just like if you've ever had siblings and somebody just put out a birthday cake and said, have at it? Um , if you're probably one of the younger ones, but one of the weaker ones, you're probably not going to get as much cake as the others. They're gonna , your older siblings are gonna fight you off. It's the same thing with these pigs. Another thing is that feeders need to be clean. I know I like to eat my food off of a clean plate every day. Um , pigs are no different. They don't prefer the moldy crusty, nasty stuff. That's hanging out in the corner and stuck to the sides of their feed pans. They're not going to eat that. Um , and it's going to smell that it's going to taste bad and there's another possibility for them to go off of feed and they can also get sick that way. So once again, if you're watching the YouTube video, but I'll talk about it. I have a picture of a feeder that actually hangs on the fence. This is good for , um, you know, being able to feed pigs individually, kinda anywhere that feeds kept off the ground, which is important. Um, it's kept clean and , uh , you can take these off of the fence when you're done feeding and clean them. I would also stay away from keeping old feed in those pans for much longer than a day. So I kind of think of it as leftovers. Sure. Some leftovers are good for several days. Um, but for these pigs, what I, what I personally think is that , um, if they don't finish something up at breakfast , um , depending on how much is left , um, if it's just a little bit, I'll leave it in there and feed it to him again, as part of their nightly feed. But if they, once again at that nightly feeding, leave some feed in that feed pan, I actually take it out and dump it out. And every night the feeders actually go into a big , um, cattle feed, tub, full of water, and it soaks overnight. And then in the morning we get up and we grab those feeders out of that , um , soaking water. We wash them off, clean them out, and then we put brand new, fresh feed in those feeders every morning, no matter what. And that's a really important point and keeping these hogs on feed, they don't want to eat out of really gross feed pans, just like we don't want to eat off of a dirty plate over and over and over again. Um, so I might probably be a little extreme in terms of how we clean our feeders, but , um, I would encourage you to please keep those feeders clean. And you're just doing yourself a favor as well as them keeping them on feed and keeping them from being sick. It's a simple solution , um , that could save you money down the road in terms of trying to fight off some sort of , um , a sickness, a virus, something like that , something else to keep in mind, the type of feeders that you're going to be using. I'm kind kinda skipping around here, but I talk about the feeder that hangs on the fence. This keeps them from laying in it. Um , I have a picture on the slide show , a pig. Who's laying in his feed, his feed trough, it's on the ground, you know, and , and we know pigs and we know animals and stuff, and they will use the bathroom, you know, for the most part in the same place. But , um, usually when you leave a feeder in the pen somewhere , um, even some of these that hang on the fence , um, they will use, use the bathroom and it goes into those feed pans. And I don't know about you, but I don't want to , I don't want to eat off of anything that somebody used the bathroom on. Another important thing to have is a feed scale. So when I'm talking about all these weights in terms of pounds per day, all these types of things well, how do we know what we're feeding per day? And this is, I know there's, there's going to be a lot of extension agents and , and teachers and even parents out there and project leaders. They're going to laugh when I, when I say this , um, you go to a kiddos house and you ask them , well, how much are they eating? How much are you feeding? And they tell you, well, it's a , a cup of this and a cup of that, you know , or a coffee can of this and a coffee can have that or, or whatever. And, but they don't really know actually how many pounds those coffee cans or cups are , um , nothing wrong with the coffee can with the cup, but knowing how, how much , uh , weight in terms of feed are in those is important to know. Um, I went to Walmart and found, a very cheap little , uh , scale that you can use to a little scale that you can use to weigh your food. And whenever, whenever I bought it, I think it was about like $14 or so. And it measures all the way down. It measures pounds down, to ounces. And for me, that's important. And for anybody who's feeding pigs, that's typically important and feed scales can be used. You can find them anywhere. You can find out what tractor supply, all kinds of different stores carry an actual feed scale. Or you can go to Walmart and get a , a food scale like you would use, or a person I'm going to skip this next one, just because I have already kind of talked about it. Um, you know, having theaters that hang on a fence, the last point in this particular part is training your pigs to eat. Everybody thinks of pigs as being these, you know, food devouring animals that you never have to worry about them going off of feed , um, or having any kind of problem with them, eating anybody who's ever raised. Show hogs knows that that's not true. They are actually very particular about what they eat when they eat it. Um, so when we talk about training your pigs to eat, what does that mean? That means food in front of them, and then giving them a set amount of time, time to eat it, not allowing them to free feed. So this obviously goes back to that hand feeding aspect, kind of a more controlled type of feeding. And like I said, you kind of have, you have to train them. This is a train to learn behavior. So it's also kind of the same thing for when you were a kid and your mom put your food down in front of you. You had, you know , a set amount of time to eat that food. And if you didn't need it, well , you are going to go hungry after that. So same thing for these pigs, you may want to try out, try out , um, you know, every pig eats different. Some of them are a little bit slower. Some of them will gobble it right up. Um , so, you know, maybe start out with a 45 minute feeding period , um , and see how that goes. And while you're out there observing them, hence why you sit out there, you know, you can be cleaning or doing something like that, but watch who gets done first and how much feed they've been fed. So if you have one that he eats really fast, you know, depending on how fast he's eating, you can probably start to cut him back. You have one that's , you know, taking the full 45 minutes and needed more. Um, that one needs to be, keep, probably keep it that 45 minutes, but you still have to pull that feed at the end of the 45. So the slow pig that's eating , um , we're going to try to get him to go down to , um, you know, this is kind of , it's a process. So every day or every few days, another five minutes off, so starting at 45, you take it away and then you give him 40 minutes and then you take it away. And then you give in 35 minutes and you take it away. Um, pigs ideally should eat their food. And about 20 to 30 minutes. So , uh, whatever works for you , um, I'm pretty comfortable with leaving feed in the feed pan for, in the feeders for about 30 minutes, 20, 30 minutes. And , uh , just taking that time to really observe these hogs while they eat , um , to make sure that , uh, everything's okay with them. And, and then this way they learn that whenever you put feed in front of them, it's time to eat. There's no messing around. It's just like kids. And so they learn that I'm going to eat this, or I'm going to go hungry and they pick it up pretty fast. Okay. Um, another aspect that I'm going to talk about is worming, or when should be done every 30 days and , um, you should rotate your wormers. Um, several people , um, agree with this, that , um, these parasites can become resistant to a specific time or a specific type of a warmer. So , um, you know, rotating those warmers in and out, you know, safeguard one month decomax, the next invermectin for that, you know, however you want to do that. Um, just make sure you're rotating those monthly and making sure to use a wormer every 30 and some people say 45 days, but I just, I always kind of go by , um, I do it at the same time of the month. So I work in the middle of the month, but , um, some people were at the beginning of the month. And so they know it's the beginning of the month or it's coming up. It's time to make, make some decisions about the type of wormer that we're going to use. I will tell you this, that if you use , um , ivermectin and you're going to give a shot, it does burn, it burns, it burns them. Um, it stings, I should say. So it's not any different than probably any kind of shot that we've ever had that possibly stung. Um, but just kinda know that you're going to get a reaction out of these Hogs when you give them a shot of ivermectin. Okay. Failed to talk about on that past slide was that you, you obviously are going to need to know the weight of your hog. You're going to need to have a starting weight of what they weigh. So you can kind of gauge a plan , um, just feeding without knowing , um, is really just kind of a strategy for a disaster. You're either going to have a pig that's too light and they've been too light for too long , um, with no change in their , uh, the amount of food they've been getting to eat. And so then we run into having to push pigs , um, pushing them to try to make weight. Um , also we might have a pig that we've just been throwing , uh , feed out there and they eat it and we walk away and they're getting really close to looking like they're going to weigh out. So meaning they're going to be above that 280 pounds for the County fair. So you've got to have a starting weight to begin with at some point, now's a good time for our particular fair, which by the way, is in September end September. And really by this point, pigs really need to be weighed on a weekly schedule or a biweekly schedule. This will give you an idea of how much , um , how much feed they're getting fed per day and how much you're that feed. They're now converting into pounds, weight gained . Um, so we can calculate , um , how many, how many paint pounds per day, they're actually gaining off the feed that they're getting fed. Um, and that's going to help us to kind of start to project where if they kept going at that level , um, you know, where they would, they would end up back there at the end of September. So that way you can kind of know this pig's kind of behind. We need to start to try to get him to eat a little bit more, gain some more, those types of things early on. So that way you can, you can catch up early rather than later. Um , same thing on the holding you can start to see, Oh my gosh, this pig's going to be really heavy. We need to start. Um, we need to possibly change our, our feeding strategy soon to kind of cut him back , um, to make sure that he doesn't go over that 280 pound Mark. Um, so some things that are important there , I, I kinda, I hear people sometimes say, well, it's too early to be, to be weighing. And , and that's a personal preference, but , uh , those of us who have been doing this for a while , um, and , uh, and been around it for a long enough, we know that , uh , weighing is, is a very vital part of this project to keep on track. Um, it's also good for them too , that they learn how to walk through a scale on a regular basis, and then they're not afraid of it. Um, so you don't get to the County fair and they're afraid of walking over a scale. Okay. Um, so on this next slide, the most important feeding strategy is actually water, water, water, water. And I always think that sometimes this is a stupid slide or something that is unnecessary to ness to talk about. However , um, it's very, very important and really overlooked pigs need clean, cool and fresh water on the slides here. I have a picture of a water bucket that's just full of muddy water. And I don't know about anybody else, but I don't want to drink that. I don't want to drink that unless I absolutely have to, to live. That's what ends up happening with these hogs that have water that looks like this. Um, most of the time their, they're generally dehydrated all of the time because they don't want to drink that dirty water. I would be the same way. I would probably lay there until I felt like I was going to die. And then I would possibly drink some of that water. Um , this water could have mold, dirt, blood , um, uh , maybe my own manure in it or algae other pigs manure in it. I mean, I just don't think I really want to drink that unless I absolutely had to. So we want to make sure that your water has no mold, no dirt, no mud, no manure, no algae growing in it. Um, all of these things are important. So different types of there's several different types of watering systems. I'm a big, you know, I'm a big fan of the pipe waters, the PVC pipe with the nipple. Um, those are good. They work really good. They're easy to clean cause you can periodically once a week or so, take the pipe out a good pen . You can dump all that water out, that's in it and you can spray it out and put nice fresh water in it. That's an easy one. Um , the thing I'm going to tell you is to make sure to check that those nipples are actually working from time to time, you can get sand or dirt or build up in those nipples and then they won't let out enough water. And so you you're offering the water, but they can't get enough of it. And yes, it is clean , but they can't get enough of it. Um , so watching that on those , um , the nipple waters , some people prefer , um, you know, like a 55 gallon plastic drum or , um, something to that effect with the water in it or a 35 gallon. Uh , the only thing I'm going to caution you on that is that you want to be able to keep the water as fresh as you can and as cool as you can. So it takes a while for a pig to drink down some of these bigger , uh, waters. So , um, from time to time, you're going to want to make sure that you, you know, you're kind of opening up that water and making sure that the water is still fresh, just because it's a 35 gallon water does not mean you have to fill it up to 35 gallons. Um, you can go, you know, so many gallons a day just to make sure that that water is in fact fresh. Another thing that I , I like to do sometimes in the summer when we had pipe waters was , uh, put a little bit of ice in the water in the morning. It kind of keeps that water in those pipes of the cooler throughout the day. And then they're more likely to want to drink some nice, cool water when it gets really hot. So that's something you can do with the pipe water. That's something you can do with , um, you know, the, the barrel waters, those types of things. Um, just making sure there's no old water, those types of things. An important thing to think of is that muscle is actually made up of 75 to 80% water. So water is a really, really important part of the feeding strategy. That's probably the most overlooked. Uh, so I'm going to say, if you possibly can help it on stay away from this type of bucket watering system, you know, anything they can land, anything that they can , um, poop in anything they can tip over all those types of things, like try to avoid those at all costs, if you can, but no matter what you do, please , uh, clean them, clean them daily, if you can. Um, if you're going to have to use a bucket, just make sure that it's clean makes it , that it doesn't get tipped over, make sure that it's cool, make sure that it's fresh, you know, no dead flies in it. Those types of things is do the best that you can with what you have with the nipple waters and the, and the buckets and the, the barrels. Um, once again, I would just take those once a week and dump them out, put fresh water in , make sure the nipples are working. Um , probably a task that wouldn't take you more than 15 minutes. So something very important when pigs aren't getting enough water, they are going to go off of feed. That's just a , that's just the way that kind of works. Okay. So we're going to talk a little bit about some of the daily care type of things. I'm going to talk about, taming them down, walking them and training them, washing them, cleaning their pens, as well as talk about sunscreen and tanning. These might be things that you were not aware of in terms of them being important. So we're going to talk a little bit about each one of these taming is part of training, probably the most important part, because if you don't have a team hog, you it's really difficult to train them. Um , so I like to say our relationship needs to exist between the exhibitor and the hog. That doesn't mean that parents can't be out there to , or grandparents or whoever, but the relationship ideally needs to belong between the exhibitor and the animal that they will be exhibiting. Okay. Um, so here's how you do that. And this is the easiest, fun part of having a show pig is in the beginning, this'll be easy to get your kids to do, to spend about 15 to 20 minutes a day, just brushing them, rubbing them heading , um , um, just getting them used to the exhibitor, being around kind of gaining some sort of trust. Um, you can always feed treats. You can get vanilla wafers, cookies, marshmallows , um, anything kind of sweet that they might like and feed those treats to them, rub all over on they'll. They'll quickly learn that, Hey, this person is my friend. Then you're going to want to move into like getting your whip and you can use your whip to actually rub them and scratch them. And what you're doing at this point is you're making it a positive experience between you, your pig and the tool that you're going to be using to guide them, which would be your pig with a whip. whip is nothing more than a tool. Um , it's not, it's not a , you know, it's not a weapon or anything like that. It's a tool to be used so that we can guide these pigs where they need to go and , and get them moving in the direction and the look that we need. So using that whip to rub them and scratch them with it will make a positive experience. That that way they don't fear the whip. Walking and training. You're gonna want to start slow. And you're going to want to start at about five minutes and try to move up into a 10 minute. And then a 15 minute type of range. You're going to want to find a small area first to work them. That could be an alley or a small pin, something like that, just so that they don't run away. You're going to need to take two bats with you. You're going to use them under their chin. I'm teaching them to keep their head up. Um, when you tap them on the side of their job, that is to turn. And , um, when you tap on the side of the body, that is to make them move, to make them walk. So that's kind of their go button, tapping them on the head and thinking that they're going to walk, usually doesn't work real well. Um, so you can see exhibitors , um , you know, alternating between , um , just underneath their chin to keep their head up and , and going back and forth to the side where they're trying to get them to, to keep moving. Okay. Once you gain more control, you can move to a larger area and you can use only one whip. Don't rush it. Um , I would wait until you actually have the control that you need with the two whips before you move to just using one. Another thing to do when you're going to work, your pigs is make sure to keep them cool. Um, you can spray them down with water to have like a little pump sprayer that you can, you know, kind of spray them down. Pigs can not sweat. So therefore when you spray them with water, that water helps keep their body temperature down so you can get a hose or something like that. And while they're out there just periodically spray them off just to help keep them cool and that'll help keep them from stressing and making it a negative experience. Again, you want to reinforce positive experiences. Otherwise these pigs will not want to work for you when they leave their pen. They're going to remember, Oh no, we have to go for a walk. And it's horrible and it's hot. And you know, they're just not going to want to work for you. Another thing is don't overwork and don't overstress these hogs, some signs and symptoms of that is heavy panting. They start foaming at the mouth, some really high pitched , squealing, laying down and refusing to move. Um, this is when some of these hogs can start to be experiencing a stress episode, a heat stress there . They're getting stressed out and they just, they can't deal with it. Um , they're getting too hot , uh, those types of things. So if you, if you notice that a pig is starting to open their mouth and breathe some heavy panting foaming at the mouth, it might be time to take a little bit of a break after that pig, some water, spray them down and get them kind of back into , um, into motion in a healthy way , uh , once again and endon a good note reward, good behavior. And it, depending on the pig, depends on what that good note is. In the beginning. If you have a pig, that's a runner and we're still trying to get him to kinda slow down a little bit. You're probably not able to do a whole lot of head work on that when you're just trying to get him to slow down and just walk. That can be a win. If he, if he does it, you know , consistently for a few minutes, go ahead and reward him by giving him treats, belly rubs, all those types of things. Pigs are very smart. They learn very quickly. So you're going to want to end on a good note and reward that good behavior you're going to want to work your pigs at least five to seven days a week. Um, I think we were working ours six days a week. We take Sundays off, work them in a place or during a cool part of the day. We've talked about that. So either in the cool part of the morning or in the evening , um, whichever you prefer pigs and, the exhibitors need endurance. Pigs need to be able to drive with their heads up for at least 20 minutes by the end of the summer. So we don't expect those hogs to necessarily have that endurance at this particular point in time. But by the end of the summer, with the amount of weight that they're carrying, they should be able to drive with their heads up for at least 20 minutes. And that's gonna , that's going to be roughly about as long as they will spend in a class in the showroom, you're going to want to practice the way you compete. You're just out there just kind of going through the motions. Cause just kind of going through the motions, sauntering along, that's not practicing the way you compete. So then when you go into the show ring and all of a sudden you really, you know, you really get with it or the kids really get with it. The pigs are like, Hey, we didn't do this at home. So why are , why are we doing this now? What are you wanting me to do? Something you can do to help is have someone be the judge, have a parent, a sibling friend, gosh, you can even use a fence post. If you're all by yourself, pick a fence post. And that could be your judge. And you show that pig to that fence post the best that you can. And you're going to walk them past them several times, let them have a rear view front view, understanding how to keep your distance from the judge, keeping them off the fence, all those types of things. Those need to be practiced at home. If they don't get practiced at home, you're more than likely going to see a pig fight you in the ring. And sometimes you have pig fight you anyway, but doing, you know , practicing things, the way you're going to compete is going to be ideal in training these hogs , um, you should be able to pin and unpinned your pig with no assistance from anyone else. By the end of the summer, you can practice this. You can make a little, little makeshift pin in your little practice area and practice driving that hog to the pin, opening the gate, putting the pig in the pin and shutting the gate behind you. You should be able to do that by the end of the summer, if not sooner, with no help from anybody else. Um , meaning no help from pig boards , nothing you should be able to. The exhibitors should be able to use a whip and get that pig into that pen . Also, they should be able to drive them out of that pin back out by opening the gate, driving the pig out and then shutting the gate behind him . That's just some good showmanship tips to use while you're practicing that you're going to want to work your hogs independently or sometimes in pairs. Uh, obviously when we take our pigs to the show ring, they're out there with several other pigs. It's not just them by themselves. So sometimes you have to kind of work pigs or train pigs in pairs because they do better. But if you can try to work them independently and get them to practice paying attention to just the exhibitor and not worrying about their buddies, and you're not going to want to wait two weeks before the County fair to train, the judge knows who has done the work at home and who hasn't the instant you walk through the gate. They can tell instantly who has been doing the work at home. Um , so don't wait for the County fair to be coming up in two weeks. And then all of a sudden worry about, you know , getting that head up and being able to drive them and driving them further 20 minutes. This is an all summer project that needs to take all summer. Something I like to mention is you wouldn't go all summer without bathing. Would you? I know I wouldn't. I would be really crusty by about the end of the week. Nevermind the entire summer nobody would want to be around me. I'd be really, really stinky. Pigs are the same way. They don't feel good necessarily when they're dirty. um just like we don't. So going all summer without beating these hogs is kind of about idea. They need to be washed with a mild soap , um , weekly, or, or sometimes biweekly, especially the white or the mostly light colored hogs. They need to be washed possibly even more than that to keep their skin from staining, by mud manure, all those types of things. So it's just like everything else. Um, create a routine. Um, you have a feeding routine, you have a training exercise routine. You need to have a washing routine, a weighing routine. All these types of things offer these hogs , um, experience and it's for their own good. And for, and for the exhibitor as well. We, wash these hugs , uh, at least weekly or biweekly just to keep them clean, keep them from staining and you don't have to go all out on , on the types of products you're going to use. You know, just some cheap suave soap is fine just to get them cleaned off at least once a week. So you could pick a day that we, you know, we clean or we wash our pigs or, or, you know, those types of things. So like for us, we, we deep clean our pins on Sundays, meaning we pull everything out and clean everything. And then we also wash those pigs before we put them back into there . They're completely clean pins . We cleaned their pens every day, but , um, it's just mostly kind of a pooper scooper type of a thing. We just kind of scoop up the poop that's around and kind of move on. It's a quick little thing once a week, we actually get in there and uh, really clean everything down. Um , and at that point that's when we also wash our hogs. So that way we're not putting a dirty hog into a clean environment. The other thing , um , I kind of talked about this a little bit is keeping your pens clean to help keep your pigs clean. If you've got dirt in your pins , nothing wrong with that. I'm just making sure that you kind of limit the amount of mud that they're making. Um , especially if you've got white and hogs, white hugs and need to be white. So trying to keep them from staining is important. Keeping them from laying in their own manure , where they're going to end up with a stain on their skin. This kind of gives them , uh , a not fresh look whenever the judge is looking at them, they're just calling out. They're looking a little, little stale, just not, not really quite having that show pig. Look, this is a beauty pageant showing pigs as a beauty pageant, just like showing goats and lambs and steers. It is a beauty pageant. So it's important to keep that skin clean thing to remember is to get condition . The skin use lotion. You can use baby oil, mane and tail swine conditioners, whatever your budget allows. Just make sure to condition that skin much like people, pigs, their skin dries out. It gets scaly and dry and it just doesn't have a good, fresh look to it. So remembering to condition that skin is very important. Um, it's also going to help kind of repel , um, dirt. They make, they make conditioners that also repel insects as well. So flies and mosquitoes. Um , so you choose whatever's best for you. And also when you wash, it feels good for them. Um, you can do it in the evenings when it's kind of cooler at the end of the day, it's refreshing, it's got a calming element to it. Um, and it's also an experience. Um, you're going to be washing these pigs at the County fairs. The jackpots that you go to, you don't want their first experience with a water hose in a wash rack to be at the County fair. That's when you start to hear pigs squealing, they're having a hard time with it is because this is the first time they've ever had to do that. And it's very difficult for them to understand why, why do I have to do this now? Why are you spraying me down with water? Why are you washing me for months? I've just kind of lived the way I was , um , in my pin. So why, why are we doing this now? It's very difficult for them to understand. So whenever you wash them on a regular basis, you're giving them experience clean pens. Okay. This is a tough one. Um , we're living here in New Mexico. Um, monsoon season comes it all of a sudden starts to rain here where you're very dry up until then not having a whole lot of rain. So it's not super difficult to keep these pens clean. Once it starts to rain, then we start to kind of run into some problems. So some things to keep in mind is that the pins really need to be cleaned every day, twice a day, whether that be while they're eating or something, you go in with your pooper, scooper rake, and you scoop out the manure, you get a shovel and go around and try to get up all the wet spots, all those types of things you're going to need to remove. All of the manure pins really should be dry, no puddles. That's hard to do part of doing our part of the world if you have sand. So just try to do the best that you can with what you have. So try to limit the amount of water that is available, you know, to get into those pens. Meaning if your pens are at the low end of your property, once it starts to rain, all that water is going to rush into those pins. So either put up some sort of a berm or something around it, to where the water can't get in. Also making sure that we have shade and covering over those pins to where , um, you know, the, the rainwater can't directly actually get into the pens and that those pigs have somewhere dry to be another thing. If you have a nipple water, the water comes, it spills out of their mouth. It gets on the ground. And then they'll try to start to create an actual mud hole. You have to really watch that. So from time to time, you may have to dig out all of that mud and then replace it with , with dry sand pretty regularly or shavings or something like that. So just trying to keep your pens as clean as possible in these pictures, you kind of see what I'm talking about. I've had , I've seen some, some pretty bad , uh, pretty bad pins several times where there wasn't a dry spot in the whole place. Mud is going to happen in your inner pig pens, but just trying to be able to give them at least a dry spot to be in. Um, once again, when you keep those pins clean , um, you can see these are all white hogs. Um, some of which are probably not show hogs, but if they were, it's going to be really difficult to get some of those stains out, just because they don't have anywhere to be where they're not in these muddy, muddy pits , muddy puddles , uh , making sure that they're not laying in their own manure. All those types of things are very, very important. Um, clean pins are also important for , um , if they spill their feed , you know, even out of a , a hanging feeder, they're going to spill some on the ground. And when she pulled that, that theater away from they're going to try to eat some of it off of the ground. That's just the way that that goes. Hopefully the ground is clean. Hopefully there's no manure or anything in the area where they can eat that too. I don't know about anybody else, but I don't prefer to eat in the bathroom. And , and , uh, these pigs don't either , uh , next, we're going to talk about sunburn and tanning. So two separate types of skin topics, dark pigs, and this includes the rocks. They need to be dark and light. Pigs need to be liked if you allow your, your dark hogs to suntan every day for 15 to 20 minutes , um , which is also best done in the morning, it's gonna make that dark skin really pop. So you can actually put a tanning oil on the darker parts of them, or if they're an all black pig over their whole body, send them outside for about 15, 20 minutes to get a tan. Again, this is kind of done best in the morning, or at least if all else in the cooler parts of the day, I don't recommend laddering them up in oil and sending them out at, you know, noon to three o'clock because it is hot and they're going to get overheated that way. And we wouldn't want to probably do that. So it's not best to do that to them. You can, you can get the best rays of light to tan in the morning. All the women out there probably know that tanning is not a big hit anymore in terms of the fad, but anybody who's ever laid out to 10 knows that it's best done in the morning. Light hogs need to have limited exposure to sunlight. So their pins need to have shade, or they need to be kept in the back somewhere where they're , they're limited to the amount of sunlight that they can actually get into. And if you've ever had white hogs, they will find it. They will find the smallest bit of sunlight to lay in and burn themselves. So making sure that they have limited exposure, I have seen pigs that were so badly sunburned. They were so red and scaly that touching them, just like when we get a sunburn, it hurt them so bad. And it really just killed me to see that, to see that animal and that way. And we wouldn't want to be treated like that. So we don't need to be treating our animals that way either. Um , a tarp, anything can be used for shade , um , small, tin, anything that you can find to make shade, please make it available for , um , especially those light colored hogs. Um , just so they , they don't have to be sunburned. And if all else fails, please put on sunscreen, put some sunscreen on your kids, put sunscreen on you and put sunscreen on those pigs. When we have Hampson crosses spots , Burks , those need to suntan as well, but we also need to keep those white areas white. So you're actually doing two separate things there. We have a hamp pig. We also have a spot pig that we, we send outside every day to , to tan. And with those, with those two, what we do is we put some tanning oil on darker parts and we spray on some sunscreen around that belt, on hamp and try to cover some of those white areas on the spot, the 50 SPF sunscreen. And then we send them outside to tan. So that way, those darker areas of their skin actually get darker. If light color hogs are in a pen , like I said, where they can find sun , they're going to do it. So make sure that if you're using sunscreen on an all white hog or a mostly white hog blue butts , that type of stuff , um, that you get a waterproof sunscreen. And then another thing to remember is that if they're exposed to the sun or can be , um, you have to reapply that sunscreen several times a day. So it's kind of one or the other, or both, if you will. Um, if you're going to have them exposed to the sun, you either have to provide shade and, or a sunscreen, and that sunscreen needs to be reapplied several times a day. So it's a , it's a very big commitment. It's something that I'm a very big fan of , um, in terms of biosecurity and health. And it's very overlooked as well , uh , limiting exposure to your pigs from the outside. I know our kids want to have fun and they want to hang out together during the summer. And usually, you know, your kids, their friends also do the same thing. Your kids do. They have shell animals and such, but maybe let's not , uh , allow, you know, if , if you know a friend down the street, they've got sick pigs and the kiddo comes over to play with your kid, you know, maybe let's just stay away from the pig pens in terms of that other kid coming in , um , and playing anywhere around the pigs or anything like that, rubbing on him or anything like that, just because that's how diseases and viruses actually get spread. It's very much like people. Um, if you have someone coming to the outside or from the outside of your facility on , that's been around other pigs, you can make them wear protective booties, or you can have them dip their shoes in a foot bath made of some sort of, you can use bleach, bleach, water, you know, anything that's going to kill viruses, germs, bacteria, just to help keep the health of your animals. I will say this, that , um , and I'm, I'm an extension agent I always wear when I would go to people's , we started doing this, we wear the protective booties and we changed them in between visits, or if we have to use one pair of them for several, we'll actually spray them down with , um, uh, a bleach water spray , um , in between the, under the underneath and the sides and everything, and really get them them cleaned off. I think that we were well intentioned, but as extension agents and ag teachers and project leaders , um, when we're going from multiple houses, we're collecting multiple different germs bacteria viruses, and then we're spreading it around. Um, so just to help keep your animals , um, as healthy as they can be, don't be afraid to protect them. Um , making sure that nobody from the outside is bringing any, anything in , um , you're never going to go to a big breeder and them just let you walk through their facility without anything on your shoes. Um, whether that be on the protective booties or they make you walk through a dip and sometimes they make you do both. Another thing is outside. Visitors need to wash their hands before they touch your pigs. They should probably work gloves if they can't wash their hands or , um, you know, it gets them some antibacterial type of wipes. If they've been touching other their pigs. And this goes for other animals as well, you can spread ringworm very easily within sheep , um , just by touching another one. And this, this goes for myself , uh, all the extension agents and act teachers out there. Um , you're going to want to make sure your scales are sanitized in between wing, but they're being used by several visitors. So when we, when we would go around and, and weigh animals , um, you know, we'd be weighing several animals throughout the day. And if stop number one has, has , uh , a virus or something going around in their pigs and that gets onto your scales. And then everybody's pigs that go through there. After that aren't exposed to possibly getting sick with whatever the first pig had. So you're gonna want to make sure that , um, you know, you talked to your ad teacher, your extension agent about making sure that those skills have been sanitized it's , it's not hard to spray them off , um, spray them out , um , after every visit and then just get a spray bottle of bleach bleach water and spring them down to make sure that they're sanitized sanitize your pins regularly, especially if you've had some sickness, if you've got animals that have been sick, kind of over it , um, it's a good, it's a good idea to go ahead and pull everything out, sanitize , get some of that spray bleach water and go through your pins as best you can and let and let them be sanitized spring , the fences, those types of things, washing all of the feeders, the waters , um , walls. If you have to really getting that dirt clean, as much as you can. One thing too, is that , uh , sick hogs need to be separated from your healthy ones and as best that you can , um , try to keep them separate. It's just like whenever we get sick, they tell you to stay home. So that way you don't bring it to work or school with, with you and give it to everybody else. It's the same thing. I try to get those sick hogs to be kind of in a separate area, just so that they're able to recover by themselves without spreading it to anybody else after sickness, you're going to want to make sure that you want to , you know, sanitize your facility before a hog returns. I kinda talked about that before, just so you can kind of limit the chances of them getting sick. Um, on this last note, this usually goes for jackpots and County fairs and things like that limits your hog , rubbing noses with other hogs when they rub noses with each other as a good, a good way for them to spread germs between each other. So if you're going to a jackpot, try to keep your hogs away from other peoples , keep them from rubbing noses, keep them from exchanging any type of fluid , saliva, that kind of stuff that's going to kind of help. Um , and keeping your pigs healthy. The last slide I'm going to be talking about, of course, all the way through your project. You're not going to want to forget about record keeping. And I have a completely different video on this. Um , and that's about the 4-H livestock record app. And on this app, I use it use it every day. It's really helpful in terms of you can, once you get on a weight schedule, you can keep the weights of your, all the separate animals that you may have. So pigs, goats, sheep, all the above can actually keep their weights in there. You can also calculate their daily gain because of the weights that you're able to see. So you can kind of see how they're gaining or losing. That could be a big problem , um, unless you're trying to, and then , uh , feed weights , um, you can keep track of your notes for, you know, right now we're feeding this, this many pounds of feed to this pig per day. Um, or when you changed, you went up, you went back, all those types of things can be , um, kept changes in feed. So if you find that a pig is not doing well on a certain brand of feed , and you decide that you're going to change , um , you can then document that and see if it's actually working. And it'll help you keep a schedule of your deworming, any supplements that you may be using as well as any of your expenses, that you may be incurring with this project, which you will incur expenses with this project and possibly some income, and it'll help you keep track of what you've spent and what you've made. Um, and this is a good learning tool for these kids to understand, you know, what these, these , uh, these projects actually cost. And , and it's a very big learning tool for them. So I hope you'll join me on my next one. Uh, the next lesson's going to be about goats, lambs, and steers. Those will be separate. So I'll have one for goats, and then I'll have one about lambs and then I'll have one about steers. And this information is provided courtesy of the grant County cooperative extension service. Uh , my name is Jessica Swapp-Massengill. And , um, I am the grant County 4-H ag agent. Um, if you're needing to get ahold of me, my phone number is (575) 388-1559. I'm currently not in the office every day , uh, just due to COVID-19. So sometimes the best way to get hold of me is through my email. [email protected] I hope this was beneficial for you. You'll join us on the next one.:
Thanks everyone for listening. If you enjoy this podcast, don't forget to hit the subscribe button on Apple podcast, Stitcher, Google play, or whatever app you're using to listen to this podcast. Want more information? You can visit us at our website grant.extension.nmsu.edu. Follow us on Facebook at NMSU, Grant County, CES [email protected] grant county NM 4-H shoot us an email at [email protected] .edu , or give us a call (575) 388-1559. New Mexico state university is an equal opportunity. Affirmative action, employer and educator and NMSU, and the U.S. Department of agriculture cooperative .