Gestation Calendar 01/19/2022
Breed Today for May 13 Litters


New Website!

Hi Everyone!

If you visit our website frequently, you may have noticed that we have updated it!  We have added some new features and hopefully made it more user friendly!  It is also mobile and tablet friendly!  Hopefully that will make looking at boars and other information easy to find!


New Features Include

1. You can now upload your Champion pictures directly from the website!  We hope this will make it easy to get send us champion pictures.  As always, you can email us pictures at as well.

2. We have added a Gestation Calendar feature.  You can find this on the top of the website.  If you click on the gestation calendar, it will take  you to another page where you can put in the date you want to breed to get the farrowing date or if you know you when you want babies born, you can figure out when to breed.  We hope that this tool will be helpful in your breeding decisions.

3. Being mobile and tablet friendly.  We are hoping that you can navigate the website with ease while on your phone!

4.  We are also bringing the blog back!  Due to welcoming new members into our family, the blog took a backseat.  We are now hoping to bring it back to pass along helpful information to our customers!  We are currently trying to decided what series we will be doing to do in 2017.  If you have any topics that you would like us to cover or know more about, let us know and we will consider them!


We hope to see you around the blog!

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Job Opportunity at Shaffer Goldrush!

Job Opportunity at Shaffer Goldrush!

Shaffer Goldrush is looking for a manual labor person to perform the daily cleaning and bedding of boar pens along with the cleaning and bedding of the show pig barn. You will also be required to do regular cleaning in other facilities at the farm as well. You must be able to use a scoop shovel, run a wheel barrel, drive a truck, lift heavy objects, be willing to drive a tractor, work with livestock and perform a variety of other farm tasks. You must work well with others, be reliable, have a driver’s license, transportation to work, and a good work ethic. This position will start out as a part time job with hourly pay with the opportunity to turn into a full time salary position with additional benefits. Please call us at 765-789-8349 for more information and to apply.


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It’s that time of the year again in the Midwest!

Hi Everyone!

It’s that time again in the Midwest!  Time to start working with our pigs for the 4-H fair!  Many of you already have already have your show pigs and are starting to work with them.  This is always a fun time of the year.

Lynsee and I are currently working on our blog series for 2014!  We were wondering if there were any topics that you would like us to discuss or tips on training your pig that you would like us to go into more detail on.  We want these blogs to be useful and helpful to you as you are preparing for the show.  So we decided to ask you!  Just comment below!

Also, we love pictures!  If you have any pictures of working with your pig while following the blog, we would love to see them!  We may even feature them in a blog!  Email them to us at

Below is our series from last year call Now that your Pig is HOME!

Each blog demonstrates a weekly step by step progress of preparing your pig for the show.  Remember that you need to master the techniques of blog before moving on to the next blog.  This is a marathon not a sprint.  Great sporting teams first practice.  It takes weeks and weeks of working together and getting to know each other before everything clicks into place.  It is the same with you and your pig.

Part 1:  Now that your Pig is HOME!

Part 2:  Now that your Pig is HOME!

Part 3: Now that your Pig is HOME!

Part 4: Now that your Pig is HOME!

Part 5: Now that your Pig is HOME!

Part 6: Now that your Pig is HOME!

Part 7: Now that your Pig is HOME!

Part 8: Now that your Pig is HOME!

The Importance of Water

All about the Environment!

Packing your Show Box

Packing for the Show!


Good Luck this summer!!


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We at Shaffer Goldrush would like address the concern of PEDv here at Goldrush and in the swine industry.

We at Shaffer Goldrush, DO NOT have PEDv as of 2/12/14.  We all know how rumors like to fly around the industry and we wanted to let our customers rest assured that we currently do not have nor have had PEDv in the past.

If we would break here at Shaffer Goldrush our customers will be the… first to know.  We will up front and honest with everyone.  We will have a plan of action set into place and pass all of that information on to our customers immediately.  Our relationships with our customers are extremely important to us and we would do nothing to hurt that relationship.  We value each and everyone of you and we want you to succeed in the swine industry.

We are currently testing weekly for PEDv just like we do every week for PRRS.  These results are available to you and your vet upon request at any time.

We are fortunate at Goldrush to have our Boars, Show Pigs, and Sows located at different sites.  The boars on stud are located approximately 2 miles from the Sow and Show Pig locations, including our office.  This is part of our biosecurity plan.  We are hoping that if we do break at one site, we would be able to keep it out of the other location.

This being said, PEDv is a very real in the swine industry.  It is affecting many of our friends in our industry and PEDv does not make exceptions to who it affects next.  Even farms with strict biosecurity protocol are falling victim.  We consider ourselves extremely lucky that we have not broke.  With that, you never know what tomorrow will bring which can be extremely scary.

Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has been affected by PEDv.

If you would like to discuss any of this with us, please give us a call 888.690.2022 and we would be more than happy to talk to you.

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Your Farrowing House Environment

Having the proper environment in your farrowing house is extremely important.  It is just as important as lining your sow up to the right boar and the nutrition they will receive throughout their life.  You want it to be as comfortable as it can be for both the sow and baby pigs.  This way you are getting the maximum performance out of the sow and the babies.  It doesn’t matter whether you just have a few sows or you have over 100, sow and baby pig comfort and care is our number priority in the farrowing house.


Temperature is tricky when it comes to the farrowing house.  This is because the sow and piglets each have a different ideal temperature.  Sows like for it be anywhere from 60 to 65 degrees.  Baby pigs like it to be at least 85 degrees during the first 3 days of their life.  After that they like is around 80 degrees or so.

To do this, we usually keep the room somewhere between 72 and 74 degrees.  We then supplement heat to the baby pigs by heat lamps.  For the temperature in the room, we simply use an LB White type of heater.  This way the sows are not getting too hot but it is still warm environment for the baby pigs.


Heat Lamps or Heated Mats

Having a supplemental heat for baby pigs is very important.  This way they get under the light and stay warm.  Make sure you set your heat lamp up in a dry, draft free area that is away from mom.  We normally put a mat down under the heat lamp to give them something to lie on as well.  Our farrowing crates are slatted, however if you farrow on concrete or dirt, the mat will also be helpful so they do not get a chill from the floor.

If you use a heated mat or pad in your farrowing pen, then you don’t necessarily need a heat lamp.  One of the two makes a huge difference for the baby pigs.

When hanging your heat lamp, you need to make sure you have it hung up in an area that none of the pigs or the sow can reach it.  Also it needs to be high enough off the ground that the baby pigs cannot reach it.  We do not want the heat lamp to turn into a fire hazard.  Trust me; if they can reach the cord or heat lamp, they will tear it down.  Safety is always a major concern with these!


Deciding if the temperature is right in your farrowing house

Your pigs will tell you if your farrowing house is too cold or too warm.  Make sure you watch them for signs, that way you can adjust your temperature settings.

If the heat lamp is too hot for baby pigs, you will notice they are not directly lying underneath the heat lamp.  They will be lying off to the side of the heat lamp.  If this is happening to you there are three things you can do.  1) Raise the heat lamp higher away for the floor.  2) Change to a lower wattage bulb.  3) Lower the temperature in the room.  As pigs get older, sometimes we will take out the actual heat bulb and put in a standard 60 or 100 watt light bulb.  It still gives off warm heat, but it is not as intense.

An example of when it is too hot under the heat lamp.

If it is too cold in your farrowing house, you will notice that the baby pigs are piling up on each other to stay warm.  Some piling is common especially in younger pigs, but usually piling pigs means cold pigs.  Turning the temperature of the room up a degree or lowering the heat lamp will normally solve the problem.

Air Quality

Your pigs need good air quality to thrive and grow.  Farrowing houses are known to be dusty.  This is usually because the sow’s feed tends to be dusty.  Simply wiping down farrowing crates or pens is one way to help keep the dust down.  Another way to keep dust down is to raise the fat content in the feed.  Talk to your feed provider for a lactation feed diet if this is a problem for you.


Proper ventilation is vital.  If you are farrowing in an enclosed room, you will need some kind of ventilation system.  A small fan or window will work wonders.  Just getting air flow through the room can make a big difference.  The tricky part comes in not creating a draft on the baby pigs and not blowing too much hot air out the window.


Most people think that ventilation is just important when it is hot outside, however it is just as important in the winter months as well.  Our fans and furnace are both connected to a control panel.  We have our room set to stay between 72 and 74 degrees.  If the temperature would fall below 72 degrees, the furnace will turn on.  We then have the fans set up if the room would reach a certain temp, the fan will turn on.   If they both are running at the same time, then something has terribly gone wrong.  This also keeps the air in the room from getting stagnate and stale smelling.  Pigs like fresh air just like you.  If you go into the room and it feels stuffy then you need to adjust some things.  However controlling the temperature and air in the farrowing house is a lot easier in the colder month’s verses the summer months.

Our control panel for the farrowing house.


Summer months are trickier because it is warmer outside.  If you are like us and live in an area with humidity, then you have that to deal with as well.   You will need a way to cool down the room and knock the humidity.  We have what we call a cool cell to keep our sows cool.  A cool cell is a water drip system.  On end of the barn we have the cool cell unit, then there are fans on the opposite side of the building.  The fans pull cool air through the cool cell and this cools the room down.  This is a very nice system, just not always the most practical if you are farrowing out a few sows at a time.  If you can keep air moving through the room, it will work wonders.  We know people who drip systems above their sows as well.  Even having a fan blowing on each sow is helpful during this time of the year.  Our goal is for the sow to be comfortable and not too hot so she can produce milk to feed her babies.

Fans in our farrowing house.


A clean farrowing house is always a happier farrowing house!  We simple as this seems, it is very important.  Cleaning out from behind the sow and keeping the pen dry will help the babies develop to their full potential.


It is most important that your pigs are comfortable!  You have to pay attention to it every day.  Every farrowing room is different, so you need to develop a plan that works best for you and your sow herd.  Remember 5 degrees of temperature change and a shovel can be just as helpful  as an antibiotic or vaccine.


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Farrowing House Season is Here!

It’s that time here in the Midwest!  Farrowing Season!  One of the most fun times of the year!

We know many of our customers are new to the farrowing process, and in this blog we would like to give you a good idea of what you are about to experience.  This may also prove
helpful to those who have been farrowing for years, as it seems new situations come up every year!
The farrowing house is one of my most favorite parts of raising pigs!  I just love everything that has to do with these little rascals!
Everyone has their own protocol when it comes to the farrowing house.  If you are new to this, you need to come up with your own protocol as well.
Before your sow farrows:
  1. Have your sows in the correct condition to farrow – Many people mistake that the thicker (fatter) their sow is the healthier it is. WRONG!  The most common farrowing problems occur because of overfed sows.  Pay attention to your sow’s body score during her pregnancy.  She does not need to look like she is going into the show ring right before she farrows.  Our gestating sows are fed approximately 4lbs of feed per day.  Think of your sow as a Dairy Cow, they should be putting all of their energy into making babies and milk.  If they are fattening up then are getting more feed than what is needed.  This will also cause the baby pigs to be bigger as well.  When they are bigger, it is harder for the sow to farrow.  The size of baby pigs when they are born has more to do with the feeding of the sow, than the sire like in cattle.  Grandpa Shaffer has always told us if our Duroc sows look good they are too fat.  If they look thin with big, baby bellies then they are just in the right condition and you are less likely to have any farrowing problems.
  2. It is very important for you to disinfect and clean the farrowing house between each farrowing group.  Power washing, followed by disinfect in the best way to clean everything.
  3. Talk to your vet to set up your vaccination program.  It is very important that you have this in place before the pigs arrive so you are prepared.
  4. Come up with a biosecurity plan –Biosecurity is very important, especially in the farrowing house.  Baby pigs are just like regular babies, their immune systems need time to develop and they are very susceptible to different illness and diseases.  We practice a strict no outside visitors allowed in our farrowing house.  If you have been around other outside pigs, you need to shower or at least change your shoes and clothes before going into your farrowing house.
** This year there is a new disease to the U.S.  called Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus or PEDV.  It is DEADLY to nursing pigs! Therefore as fun as it is to have visitors, we strongly recommend keeping your barn closed to all visitors. Here is a website of information about PEDV.
Farrowing Supplies:
Make sure you have all of your supplies on hand, prior to the beginning of farrowing.  We feel that it is better to be safe than sorry!
Here a few of the supplies that we like to have on hand

Medications — Talk to your vet and see what their protocol is as far as shots giving during labor, after labor and to the baby pigs.  This way you are prepared before she has her litter

  • Oxytocin – It is always good to have this on hand when you are farrowing out sows.  This is helpful when yoru sow is in labor.
  • Iron Shots – To give to the babies within 24 hours of them being born.
  • Other medications suggested by your vets to help with the delivery process and to give the baby pigs.
  • Make sure you have the correct syringe and needles on hand.  You will not use the same size needle on the sow as you do a baby pig and make sure you have plenty on hand.  Talk to your vet on the different sizes of needles to use.
  • Make sure you know the withdrawals of all medications that you use as well in case you need to market your sow after farrowing.

Heat Lamps – We place in heat lamp in each of our farrowing pens.  You need make sure that they are low enough to where they can feel the warmth of the lamp, but high enough to where they babies can’t reach them.  Also make sure the cords cannot be reached by the babies or sows.  We do not want these turning into a fire hazard.

Mats – Any kind of rubber mat will do, we place this under the heat lamp to give the babies a warm place to lie.  They also make heated pads/mats as well for baby pigs.  If you have one of these, then a heat lamp is not necessary.

Baby Pig Standing on a mat under the heat lamp.

Towels – Great to have on hand to clean baby pigs after they born.  Make sure you don’t use your Mom’s nice new towels!  Any old towels, rags, t-shirts work great for this.
OB Sleeves – If complications would unfortunately arise, sterile OB sleeves would be needed to help assist with delivery if you needed to pull pigs.
Lubrication – If you were to pull a pig, you would need to put lube on your glove.
Baby pig pullers – If are having trouble getting a pig out, there are several different types of pig pullers you could use.  We suggest the ones that look like forceps because you are more likely to save the baby pig with these.
Radio – Something to help pass the time while you are waiting on your next litter!  We also think it keeps the sows calmer when they are listening to music J
Calendar – It is helpful have a calendar in the barn as well with all of the important dates on it such as breeding dates, farrowing dates, dates your gave shots, etc.
Keeping Records:
Keeping records of your litter is very important.  You are able to keep track of the litter and the medications, feeds, and everything else that you do with the litter.  What we do here is each sow has their own breeding card.  On this card we have sow’s information along with the date we bred her and to who we bred her too.  Once her litter is born, then each litter has their own card that we hang by their pen.  We keep track of the litter this way.  On our litter card we have the following information:  Sow’s identification, sow’s breeding, date of birth of the litter, litter notch, litter sire, # born, # of males born, # of females born.  We then have columns with each individual notch of the pigs. Beside each individual number we have sex, underline count, and a notes column.  We also keep track of all of the medication and vaccinations given on this paper as well.  We have tailored our litter card to fit our farm, you can do the same.  We created ours in an excel document.
After we wean the litter, we put all of the litter information in a computer program called Herdsman, however if you just have a few sows, and excel document works great.  We then file the paper copy in case we have any questions later.  On purebred litters, we would register the litter at this time as well.

Recording information on a litter.

Moving to the farrowing house
A common question we get is when is the right time to move our sow to the farrowing house?  This is a very good question.  Pigs are like people they have an expected due date, however it is not uncommon for sows to go into labor a day or two early and for gilts to go over a few days.  We generally try to have our sows up and in the farrowing house 3 to 5 days before their due date.  We like to move them to the farrowing house for a few reasons.
  1. They can get used to their new environment.
  2. You can watch over them more closely.
  3. You are prepared if they farrow early.
In the farrowing house, you need to make sure that your sow or gilt has access to a clean, fresh water supply at all times.  Before they farrow we also limit their feed (about 4 lbs a day).  This is so after they farrow, they will get up and eat. That way they will produce a good milk supply to feed their babies.  If you notice they are not cleaning up their feed, cut about a half pound at a time, until they are finishing all of their food.  You will know if they are still hungry.
It is getting close for your sow or gilt to farrow!  This is a time when nerves start to run in both us and your momma to be.  It is such an exciting time as well!
Signs of Labor
  1. Milk coming in – some sows can get milk a day or two before they will farrow.  However this is great indicator that she will farrow soon.  At the same time, some sows do not get their milk before they start labor.
  2. Discharge from vulva
  3. Labored breathing
  4. Going off feed
  5. Change in behavior
We like for our sows to have their litters unassisted.  We are there to help if needed and to clean off baby pigs.  Unfortunately we know that when dealing with livestock we never know when something might not go as planned.  Each delivery is different.  Generally during a normal delivery, she should have a pig about every 20 minutes.  There are times when they will have them closer together.  If are you pushing 30 minutes without another pig being born, you need to figure out why.  Is the pig stuck, did the sow quite pushing, etc.  Paying attention to your sow will help you figure out these answers.   Pigs are typically born head first. It is not uncommon for them to be born feet first either.  So do not be alarmed if they are born both ways.  If something would go wrong, you need to have a plan in place.  Do not be afraid to pull pigs, however do not go up fishing for babies, that is when infection can happen.
What to do if problems occur:
  1. Stay Calm
  2. Call your vet – your vet will know what to do and be able to walk you through what you need to do or come out the farm to help.
  3. If you have to pull a pig – remember to us the sterile OB glove and lube.  This helps keep infection down.  Also, the smaller the arm, the better.  Go in gently as well.  Be cautious if you do have to pull pigs.  The more times that you go up, the more likely she will get an infection.
    1. If a pig is stuck or positioned incorrectly and you have to pull it, make sure you check that the other babies are not backed up behind that one.  Usually if one has been stuck for a while, the others will be piled up behind it.
    2. If the baby is coming feet first and not head first, do not try to turn the baby around. Feet first babies are sometimes easier to pull.
When she is done farrowing, she will pass after birth.  Mother Nature should kick right in and she will know what to do.  You will notice that grunts a certain way when she wants the babies to nurse and when she wants them to leave her alone.  She should also go back to eating after delivering as well.  You can start to increase her feed after she farrows.  We slowly increase the sow’s feed each day.  We want them to each as much food as they can so they will produce a good supply of milk.  We keep increasing their food until we reach the point to where they are not cleaning it all up.  Then the next feeding we bump it down a half of a pound.  A few days later if they are wanting more to eat, you can increase it again.  Each sow is different and eating 12 + pounds a day while they are lactating is not uncommon.
We hope that this is helpful for you!  Our next blog we are going to talk about the environment of the farrowing house!
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Shaffer Goldrush Open House & Elite Gilt Sale 2013

Its that time of the year!  Shows are starting to wind down in the Midwest and thoughts are now being shifted to breeding for this Fall!  Such a fun and exciting time of the year as we all try to find that perfect match in hopes of raising Champions for the following year!

Every year we have the Shaffer Goldrush Boar Open House and Elite Gilt Sale!  This year it is being held on Saturday, August 24, 2013.  It is a day of fun for the entire family!  It is a great day to come out and view the boars that we have on stud, eat lunch and hopefully learn a few things along the way!

The tents set up for the Open House in 2012!

Schedule of Events

9 am – Registration

10 am – A.I. Breeding Demonstration

11 am – Lunch!

12 pm – Boar Viewing

2:30 pm – Elite Gilt Sale

We start the day off with the A.I. Breeding Demonstation.  This has become a staple at our open house.  We will walk you through the steps of heat detection, proper breeding techniques along with semen storage.  We will have a live demonstration on a sow to be a visual for everyone.  Most of the time will be dedicated to questions.  Any questions that you have, this is a great time to ask!  We hope that this is a helpful for everyone whether this fall will be first time breeding or if you are a seasoned pro at it!

Next is Lunch!  We love food!!

We will be viewing approx. 45 of our Powerful Herdsired!  We will be parading old favorites along with our new purchases from this summer!  We try our best to show all of the boars that everyone wants to see, however we try to keep the viewing around 2 hours.  If you have any questions. please feel free to give us a call!

Viewing boars at the Open House in 2012!

Viewing boars at the Open House in 2012!


We are offering a powerful set of gilts for sale!  The sale will start around 2:30 or 30 minutes following the boar viewing.  Check out the PDF below of the gilts we are planning on selling!

Gilt Sale – pdf

(to open the PDF, you have to click on the Gilt Sale link above, then a new page opens and you have to click on it again and then the PDF will open)

54-4 Yorkshire Gilt


31-3 Crossbred Gilt


22-11 Duroc Gilt


11-7 Crossbred Gilt



Any questions, please feel free to give us a call at 888.890.2022 or email us at!  We hope to see you there!

Address of the Open House — It is held at our Boar Stud and not at the office.

6266 N 1150 W
Farmland, IN  47340
(Map Quest does not recognize this address, but Google Maps  does)

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Now that your Pig is HOME! Part 8

This week I want to focus back on showmanship and preparing your hog for the show. Before I get into detail about showmanship again, I want to encourage you to constantly be evaluating your hog. It is important that we know what we like about our pig and what needs changed about our pig. If you are uncomfortable about evaluating your pig, ask a friend or 4-H advisor that you trust to come evaluate. Just like in sports, it is important that we keep improving our pig daily. This means if the pig is not changing, maybe you need to be switching feeds. (Not necessarily brands, just the specific feed you are on)

Today I really want to focus on how to get to the next level of showmanship. We have talked about the basics of keeping your hog moving, keeping a good 10-15ft. from the judge, eye contact, keeping the pig in between you and the judge, and showing different angles. Today I’m going to tell you the secret to being at the top of showmanship and even winning showmanship.

Are you ready?

It is easier than you may think……

Here it is:
Be the best at mastering the basics! I know this sounds simple, but that is the key. Many people think that since they know the basics they don’t have to keep practicing them. However, if you can successfully conquer all the basics to showing that we have discussed in previous blogs, and stay in the open sections you will do well.

The goal is to get the judge to look at you and your hog more than anyone else. Thus when you get clear eye contact with the judge, do NOT look away first. Hold the judge’s stare for as long as possible. Intense eye contact is a Huge advantage to showmanship. Just looking at the judge will not cut it, you have to look into their eyes and hold that eye contact. (If you are a shy person, look at their forehead/ eyebrow)

Next is to master your posture. The key is to be aggressive, but calm. There is no need to get over worked and no need to over tap your hog in the show ring. Show off all the hard work you put in before. They key is to get your pig to turn without tapping it a million times!

Winning showmanship is not a science, it’s who can present their hog the most times in front of the judge, while maintaining control, speed, and has good eye contact and confidence.

The best way to learn is watch others who do well, and ask for help!


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Now that your Pig is HOME! Part 7

For most of you school is or almost out for the summer!!!! Hurray! Now is the time to really start to focus on your show pigs. As we have discussed in previous blogs, especially week 4, walking twice a day will become a must at this point. In the morning make sure you are out and finished walking before the heat sets in, usually 9am. In the afternoon practice showing like you’re in the show ring, refer to blog #5.

Today I want to talk about clipping and show pig.


At this time in the show pig industry, clipping is HIGHLY recommended. It makes your pig look more presentable and cleaner. I always recommend practicing clipping at least one more time before you officially do it for fair. Practicing about a month before will give time for the hair to grow back if you happen to make a mistake.

1) Read your county fair rule book. Many counties have rules about how long the hair must be. So just like the weights this is a generalization and what we do here at Shaffer’s Gold Rush, but please read your rules to make sure you clip accordingly.

2) When clipping go against the grain the grain of the hair. Be sure to know exactly what guards you have on, and keep the clippers well oiled.

3) We clip the pig’s entire body with a ½ inch guard. Do not bare clip your pig! It is too tight and makes your pig look funny

4) Make sure to clip the belly, the tail, and if you have a barrow clip his sheath.

5) We like to clip the head of our pigs at 3/16. This tight will make your pig’s head look cleaner and more attractive.

6) Also be sure to clip all of the whiskers around the nose, clip the eyelashes and ear hair.

7) Make sure to blend the head to the rest of the body (from ear to front of shoulder) with a 5/16.

8) Be sure to look over your pig for any missed patches or hair.

9) You can clip the legs if you want to, we usually do not unless the leg hair is crazy.

It is easier for you to clip your pigs if they are tame. So try to rub their belly a little to get them to lay down or at least get in the pen with them a couple of days before you clip them for the pig to warm up to you. I normally start clipping at the belly to get the pig to lay down and then I work up the belly and the butt. Long even strides is the best way. Use your other hand to keep the skin smooth.

Clipping is generally a simple project, but very very important! Good luck!

** Keep walking those pigs and rinsing them off daily!

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Now the your Pig is HOME! Packing for the show!

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Bucket – We recommend taking at least 2!
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Chairs – So you can sit back and relax during the show.
  8. 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!
  9. Feed Scoop – Make sure you don’t forget this! We always do!

Optional Items you may need

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Extension Cords – If you are putting a fan up, you will need a way to plug them in.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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!

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