let's talk farm animals

Faces of Farming calendar – meet the faces of April.

by Patricia Grotenhuis

Starting up a business is challenging, and starting up a farm is no different.  Add in an international component and it becomes more challenging yet.

Not all farmers take over the family farm.  Amy Cronin and her husband Mike were both raised on dairy farms but became hog farmers after they married.  Thanks to a lot of hard work, the farm has grown and expanded, with farms in both Ontario and Iowa.

Cronin and her six year old daughter Emmy are featured in the 2012 Faces of Farming Calendar published by the Farm Care Foundation. Their page was sponsored by Molesworth Farm Supply because of Cronin’s work on the farm and in the industry.

Amy and Emmy - the faces of April

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Posted by Farm and Food Care on April 4th, 2012 :: Filed under Animal care,Canada,Faces of Farming,Family vs factory farming,Farm life,Pigs,Pork
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You were asking about…housing for pigs

 by Patricia Grotenhuis, Lifelong farmer and agricultural advocate

Many people wonder why pigs are in individual pens on many farms.  There are a variety of reasons.

Pigs are omnivores, and can be quite aggressive, especially at feeding time.  While competing for food, pigs have been known to bite each other.  Individual pens protect against this by removing competition for food and water.

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Posted by FFC on September 1st, 2011 :: Filed under Animal care,Animal health,Housing,Innovation and technology,Pigs
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Farm animals save lives

By Leslie Ballentine,  Farm and food commentator

When we think of cattle, pigs or poultry we may think of our next meal. But what many don’t know is that farm animals provide more than just sustenance.  They also save lives in other ways too.

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Posted by FFC on July 4th, 2011 :: Filed under animal by-products,Beef cattle,eggs,Innovation and technology,Pigs,Research
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Our contract with pigs

by  Patricia Grotenhuis, Lifelong farmer and agricultural ambassador

A number of conversations between a father and his son about why they follow the specific farming practices they did led to the writing of a fable which stretches back to the times before animals were domesticated.

Bob Hunsberger, a pig farmer from Ontario, and his son Kyle, decided to write an explanation showing the evolution of farming practices which have lead us to where we are today.  Writing the document has helped the Hunsbergers answer questions they are asked about animal agriculture and about the farming practices being used with pigs.

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Posted by FFC on June 17th, 2011 :: Filed under Animal care,Farm life,Feeding the world,Pigs,Pork,Sustainability of the family farm
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Unlike our kids, farm animals can get needle-free shots

By Leslie Ballentine, Farming and food commentator

I remember the days of howling kids in the doctor’s office when mine and other little ones had to face their annual vaccinations. Although the needle jab was really no big deal, little kids never seem to see it that way. Well, they would be envious of pigs and chickens. That’s because livestock and poultry can now get some of their vaccinations needle-free.

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Posted by FFC on March 28th, 2011 :: Filed under Animal care,Animal health,Innovation and technology
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She’s no “typical” farmer!

Vet tech turned pig farmer in the 2011 Faces of Farming calendar

By Patricia Grotenhuis

Pigs have captured the interest of Katherine Zurczak, a registered Veterinary Technician and city girl turned farmer.

Zurczak had her first encounter with pigs while studying to be a veterinary technician at Ridgetown College.  She was quickly fascinated by her work with the animals, and after graduating in June of 2009, began working at Hog-Wild Farms Ltd. in Ontario.

The face of November in the 2011 calendar

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Posted by FFC on March 8th, 2011 :: Filed under Animal care,animal handling,Education and public awareness,Faces of Farming,Family vs factory farming,Farm life,Misconceptions,Pigs,Pork
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Sweat like a Pig? Not likely!

By Patricia Grotenhuis, Lifelong farmer and agricultural advocate

It’s a hot, sunny summer day, and pigs are all out wallowing in the mud, happy as could be.  Or are they? 

Pigs, when housed outdoors, will use mud to keep cool if necessary.  They lack sweat glands (making it impossible to “sweat like a pig”), so the only way they can cool themselves is by getting moisture on their skin which can than evaporate and create a cooling effect.  Mud would work for this cooling effect, as does water.

Although pigs are normally associated with messes (“your room is a pig sty” probably being the most common example), they actually like clean environments to live in.  Pigs are quite comfortable living in a clean, dry barn with adequate supplies of food and water.

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Posted by FFC on March 1st, 2011 :: Filed under Animal care,Housing,Pigs,Pork,Urban Myths,Weather
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The end – A PIG’S TALE

Steve Buist, Hamilton Spectator, 2008.06.07

I left the Great Lakes packing plant on May 12 with four boxes of meat piled onto the back seat of my car. Piggy — my pig, the pig I had helped raise and care for — was packed inside those boxes.

Six months of his life, six months of my life, all reduced to four cardboard boxes on my back seat.

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Posted by FFC on July 23rd, 2009 :: Filed under Canada,Consumers,Farm life,Pork
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Reporter feels business end of electric prod

Steve Buist, Hamilton Spectator, 2008.06.06

The use of battery-powered electric prods to get hogs moving is a controversial animal welfare issue.

The prod is poked into the back or rump of the pig and with a push of a button, a flash of electric current jumps between two contacts. It’s enough to elicit a loud squeal in some pigs.

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Posted by FFC on July 23rd, 2009 :: Filed under Meat/slaughter plants,Pork,Transportation
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The end of the line

Steve Buist, Hamilton Spectator,2008.06.06

It’s Friday, May 9. I didn’t need my alarm clock this morning. I was wide awake by 4 a.m.

I admit that I was a little apprehensive. This is Piggy’s last day. This morning, he’s being shipped from the Littlejohns’ farm in the hamlet of Glen Morris to Great Lakes Specialty Meats, a small packing plant in Mitchell, about half an hour north of London.

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Posted by FFC on July 22nd, 2009 :: Filed under Farm life,Meat/slaughter plants,Pork,Transportation
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