If you are like most of us, you wait until the last minute to pack for a show. You end up running around and trying to throw things in the trailer and something is usually forgotten. We are hoping that this list can get tucked away in your brain to help ease the stress of preparing and packing for the show. Whether it is your first show you are attending or your 100th show we are hoping that packing for a show can be stress free!
Before you pack, find out what the unloading rules are at the show. For example, at our county fair, you can take your tack up the day before the pigs arrive. This is great because you can set everything up and then the next day all you have to do is unload your pigs and you are set! However at the Indiana State Fair, you usually only have 15 minutes or so to unload tack and pigs so being very organized is the key (and speedy too)! Also if it is a warm or hot with the sun shining, you will want to unload your pigs rather quickly so they do not get hot in the trailer.
Must haves at the show
- Shavings/Bedding – Most shows require you to use shavings as bedding for your pigs. However, we have been to several shows that require straw so make sure that you read the rules prior to the show and know what the proper bedding is. We prefer shavings over straw, especially in the summer months because you pigs stay cooler and cleaner. Also make sure your pigs are used the bedding that you will be using at the show. If you bed with straw at home but are planning on using shavings at the show, we suggest switching to shavings at home about a week before.
a. Also make sure you have plenty of shavings for the entire week. You will want to keep the shavings looking clean and fresh by keeping the pen clean after the pigs go to the bathroom. You may need to put partial bags in the pen throughout the week. If you have multiple pigs in a pig, the more you will be cleaning out the pen vs if you have just one pig in a pen.
- Feed – This is the most important thing to take with you! You will need enough feed to last you the entire show. For a county fair, most of us live close to the fairgrounds, so you can bring feed up on an as needed basis. However, if you are going to a show farther away, you will need to pack a week’s worth.
a. Also don’t forget your feed additives and anything else that you have been feeding your pig.
b. We have all had a pig that has arrived to the show and decided that he/she was not going to eat any more. We suggest taking a different feed that pig isn’t used to. We will bring sow feed or nursery feed and keep it out in the trailer as back up. Sometimes just that change in texture is enough to get them eating again.
- Clip Feeder/Pan – We like to feed out of clip feeders at a show. It keeps the pig’s head up and they are easy to use and the pigs cannot flip them over like a rubber pan. You can also unclip these when they are done eating out of them.
- Bucket – We recommend taking at least 2!
- Show Box – This is where you keep all of your show supplies. Check out our recent blog on what to pack in your show box.
- Divider Gates – Most shows’ pen space is limited and you have to put multiple pigs in a pen. Make sure you have a divider for all pigs that have not been penned together. You can find out the pen size by reading the rules or calling someone at the fairgrounds to make sure you have a divider that will work.
- Chairs – So you can sit back and relax during the show.
- Shovel/Rake – You will need some kind of utensil to clean out your pen with. Make sure you have your name on it too. Ours always seems to walk off!
- Feed Scoop – Make sure you don’t forget this! We always do!
Optional Items you may need
- Fans – During summer months and warm spells, fans are a must to help keep your pigs cool. Read the rules as to what kinds of fans are allowed in your barn.
- Heat Lamps for Winter Months — If you are going to a show and it is cold outside you may need a heat lamp. Make sure this allowed before you put them up. Do to fire safety not all shows allow this.
- Extension Cords – If you are putting a fan up, you will need a way to plug them in.
- Rubber Mat – If the floor is really slick under the pig pens at the show, a rubber mat can be laid down. This will help the pig not slip and fall in his/her pen.
- Nipple Water – Some shows allow you to bring in your own waters to the show. This great for the really hot days to keep your pigs drinking.
a. Pigs like to play in their water these tend to make the pens messier.
b. We do not recommend watering out of rubber pans. This is very messy and usually the pig spills the water before drinking it. Water out of a nipple water or a bucket.
c. If there is a weigh back for barrows and gilts, you will need to watch the weight of your pigs closer, because you do not know who much water they are drinking and we do not want them to weigh out.
- Hose – Some shows provide a hose for the wash rack and some do not. It is a good idea to bring a short hose along.
- Herder – If it is your first show of the season and your pigs are not fully trained yet, a herder will helpful to get them up to the show area and move around the barn.
We are hoping that this list serves as a guide line as you are preparing for your next show. You may not need everything that we have listed above or you may need something we have not listed. Good Luck and make sure you don’t forget snacks, food, and drinks for yourself!