It is certainly true that sows will cause a lot of racket at feeding time and it is absolutely necessary to wear your earplugs in the building for the 10 minutes while you get the feed ready to drop.
They will bang on the feeders and scream for their feed to drop. Pregnant ladies are rarely known for their patience in waiting for meals. This is most likely when every single sad-looking video is taken, with sows foaming at the mouth and looking crazy.
But what those videos don't show is that after the feed drops, the barn goes quiet as they fill up their bellies and lay back down.
I encourage you to watch the video that I took in one of our gestation facilities.
Here are some things that you need to know about this video: First is that this facility houses 7,000 animals under one roof so that is large.
To some, that sounds exactly like the "Factory Farm" they have pictured in their head – large, loud, dirty, dark and no personal care. To me, it is an amazing building to see, and it is so easy to be able to provide the best care to all of your animals when they’re all in one place.
The other thing to point out is that you need to turn up your volume because it is that darn quiet. Yes, this large, modern family pig farm has a gestation building with 7,000 sows in stalls and you need to turn up your volume to make sure you are hearing things right.
This is what a gestation building is like, you simply can’t stage it so 7,000 animals act quiet and sleep on cue…and no, they aren’t all sick or dead…I’ve been asked that before!
Would a picture of a sow in a green grassy pasture with the sun and blue sky look prettier than a sow in a building?
Yes, to most people it would.
The photographer inside of me however absolutely loves the bright lines and symmetry of the sow farm and inside the buildings.
To me, they don’t appear to be hard lines of confinement and restriction. Rather, they are lively and productive lines of innovation and progress and life. They are what we developed after deciding that it was our personal opinion that we have a moral obligation to help feed the world and a growing population.
If I agreed that the practices we used were abusive and harsh, I wouldn’t boast and blog about them. I would most likely sulk away, and try to “slip through the cracks” and hope that no one would notice the soapbox I’ve been standing atop for the last year or so.
I would definitely like to thank everyone, however, for their support and their opinions of me and what we do. Every opinion – whether it appears to be in favor or opposed – helps motivate me to share our story in more unique and effective ways.
At the end of the day, all soap-boxing, blogging, Facebooking and tweeting aside, there will be nothing that warms my heart and renews my faith in what I do more than rolling up my sleeves and caring for the baby piglets and the momma sows on our farm.