|Friday, 15 June 2012 08:59|
Farmer Mike Jackson was filling his hog shed with piglets this week. The pigs will spend about the next 6 months there before heading to market. Click here for more and to see video.
Mike Jackson is busy handling a fresh batch of 900 pigs. Pigs that will keep him busy for the next six months.
"Day to day basis is making sure that the water is still running and the feed is still flowing." - Mike Jackson
These pigs are 10 days olds and weigh about 12 pounds. As part of their first day in Jackson’s shed, the pigs will be separated by sex.
"Split the boys and the girls separate from each other so they can have separate feed rations. It makes a better uniform product. Makes them grow a little better that way." - Mike Jackson
The pigs are bunched up right now, but will soon be put in a different pens.
"Essentially this is their bedroom and then you got the cup waters over here. Pig walks up and pushes on it with his nose and the water squirts out. And the feeder, which is a hopper style feeder, so it will fill up and then it will shut the feedline off, but then they are able to get their feed down here. They just start working and wiggling that." - Mike Jackson
Jackson has his hog shed fitted for temperature control to keep the pigs warm while they are younger and cool when they get older. He uses propane heating lamps for heat. And for cooling ... open windows, fans under the floor, fans hanging from the ceiling, and sprinkler heads that spray out cool water for the really hot days.
"Just like you go to the state fair and there is the fountain shooting up and the kids are running through the fountain. It’s the same cooling effect." - Mike Jackson
Mike’s been doing this for eight years. He owns the building, pays to the utilities, but he doesn’t own the pigs. The pigs owner pays Mike for his work and then hopes to make about a dollar per pig or $900 from this facility in the end.
"It’s like buying a house in town and renting it to somebody and then the renter takes care of the house. ‘And then the tenants are essentially your pigs’. Essentially yes." - Mike Jackson.
So since he is basically the caretaker of the pigs and not the owner -- he’s not really worried about the market prices, just taking care of the pigs.
"On top of that I get the hog manure that I can turn around and put out on my farm ground and make another product." - Mike Jackson.
These 900 pigs will produce enough manure to cover about 80 acres of farmland with a fertilizer value of $12,000 or more. For CRI Weekly News, I’m Jon Hoffmann
We’ll continue to follow Mark Jackson and his hog operation. The current price for pork is 79 cents per pound, that’s down 13 cents from a year ago.