Do you know what it’s like to live like a pig?
At Stateler Family Farm, we keep our pigs happy and healthy.
- Our piglets first arrive to a freshly clean and disinfected nursery.
- To get them off to a good start, their needs are then provided for on an individual basis
- Eventually, the piglets are moved from the nursery to the finishing barn where they can be provided with continued growth and space before being sent off to market.
If you have any more questions about our pig farm, please let us know.
Pigs Nursery Building
Built in 2007, our nursery building is the latest addition to our farm, and it has already proved its worth to improved pig comfort and convenience for weaned pigs.
Pig Nursery Rooms
In the two rooms of our nursery, there are 48 pens that hold 25 pigs each with an additional four pens for recovery and slow starters. The climate is computer controlled and only varies two degrees from high to low. The heat lamps are also computer-controlled, for a floor temperature of around 84 degrees. The rest of the room is set at 80 degrees upon arrival. After the first fourteen days, the set temperature starts a downward trend over the next thirty days to reach 72 degrees.
Plastic Floor Slat
The floor is plastic and is very comfortable for the pigs. It does not absorb body heat like cement and always stays warm. The smaller nursery feeders and a new pan water system helps pigs start off quickly.Because of this environment, our pigs have fewer abrasions and almost no leg problems.
Welcome Barrows (boys) and Gilts (girls)
From their arrival weight of 12 lbs. these pigs will be fed 3 different diets before leaving 52 days later at about 60 lbs. The pigs arrive at 21-days-old, about two hours after being weaned from their mother. When they first arrive, they are sized and put into pens. Any pigs that are smaller are separated and fed a different diet to help them catch up. By doing this right away they do not fall any farther behind and by the time we move them to the finisher there is very little difference in size.
The pigs weigh about 12 pounds when they arrive and are ready to investigate their new home. We receive about 650 to 800 pigs a day until our capacity is reached at 2400 pigs. During the first week, about 60 hours is spent in the nursery with the pigs. Over the next three weeks, the hours will reduce to about 20 hours a week.
Starter Food Stuffs
The small pan is what we call a gruel pan. The first three days after arrival, the pigs are grueled two times a day. Gruel consists of starter pellets (corn, vitamins, milk replacer, whey, and other nutrients) mixed with water. The water softens the pellets and enhances the milk replacer, attracting the pigs to make sure they get off to a healthy start after leaving their mothers. We continue to dry gruel for an additional 7 days to make sure all pigs have opportunity to feed until learning the self feeder.
Our finishers are over twice the size of the nursery. While the nursery is 80' by 105', the finisher building is 80' by 240'. The four feed bins have a total capacity of 60 tons of feed. As the pigs get bigger their feed is changed to meet their nutrition needs; this will change about five times while the pigs are in this building.
Each of the two rooms in the finisher is 40' by 240', and has 21 large pens holding 56 pigs in each. There are also 4 small pens used for recovery. Like the nursery, the ventilation system is run by a computer to control the environment. Whether it is winter or summer, the pigs are always comfortable. The building is shaded, insulated, equipped with sprinklers, and has a gentle 7 mph breeze on hot summer days to keep the temperature below 90 degrees in the building.
In our old barns, it would sometimes get so hot that the pigs would only eat early in the morning or late at night. With our current, temperature-controlled barns, the pigs are always comfortable.
The pigs stay in the nursery for 52 days until they are moved to this building in our retired school bus. They stay here for 110 days, and by the time the reach about 270 pounds, they are ready for market. Our pigs are transported to Hatfield Processing Plant in Pennsylvania. When this barn is empty it will take about 60 hours to power wash and disinfect the building for the next group from the nursery.
We market about 16,000 pigs per year. In the past, we would have 80 sows farrow to finish, as well as a few feeder pigs to market. This resulted in about 1800 pigs per year, from which we would sell one or two trailer loads of 25 pigs per week. Now, with around the same amount of labor, we sell about 90 semi loads of 172 pigs per year.
Our pig farm currently generates about 2.5 million gallons of manure to spread on our fields. This manure is stored in pits under the buildings. With this system, we do not have to worry about flooding or run off from lagoon water. The Manure (Black Gold) is used to fertilize our corn crop for the next year, reducing our need for commercial fertilizer.
We are very concerned about the environment and use the latest equipment to apply our manure. The airway rolling tillage tool penetrates and loosens the soil to about eight inches deep, fracturing any cracks and leaving freshly tilled soil ready to absorb the manure which is sprayed on top. Freshly tilled soil provides more surface area for the manure to be absorbed, so the process is quicker than if it were hard flat soil. We apply the equivalent of about 1/5 inch of rain in any one application. Odor is reduced by manure absorbing quickly into the soil rather than pooling in a trench to be absorbed over several days.
Seasonal Crop Selection
We also raise wheat, corn, and soybeans. About 80 percent of our manure is applied after wheat harvest in July and August. We now seed our manure ground with oil seed radish after application, which helps absorb the manure and hold it better until spring planting.