From oppressive heat in the Southeast to Midwest floods, pork producers across the country are facing many serious weather-related challenges that could impact the safety and health of their livestock. “While pork producers know it’s always important to make animal well-being a priority, this takes on special urgency when extreme weather emergencies hit,” says Paul Sundberg, vice president of science and technology for the National Pork Board. Sundberg offers the following advice:
• Check vital signs. Ensure that your animals are safe and housed where they can survive, and always make sure they have access to adequate feed and water.
• Preplan for biosecurity issues. If you have to relocate animals, for example, will different ages of pigs come in contact with each other? If you have to evacuate animals to a different site, call your neighbors, local veterinarians, and county or state pork associations to see where barns or shelter might be available.
• Watch closely for signs of disease. Animals that are under stress are more vulnerable to pathogens.
“The strategic use of antibiotic treatment may be necessary to protect the health of your pigs, especially if the animals have to be moved and are stressed,” Sundberg says.
Following the basics can go a long ways towards protecting the health of your herd, Sundberg adds. “Ensuring that your pigs are safe and adequately cared for during these challenging weather conditions isn’t always easy, but it’s more important than ever.”