Owning a Hog Confinement is an intensive and rewarding job that is required seven days a week for three-hundred and sixty-five days a year. For Dalton Chandler, the day starts at 5:00 a.m. to load and unload hogs to be shipped for market followed by a daily routine.
Dalton Chandler has a contract feed with TriOak Food. The contract is a ten year contract in which Chandler supplies the ground and paid for the building to be built. His particular building is 72 feet wide and 320 feet long. It is a paid per contract and makes the same amount of money each month. It also pays per pig space; so for every x amount of pigs is a x amount of dollars per pig. TriOak has approximately three-hundred individual farmers who possess anywhere from one to ten different buildings. They have twelve reproduction sites that mostly reside in Iowa and western Illinois. TriOak supplies all the feed and medications for the entire term. Each term is 5 1/2-6 months long depending on the marketing pigs. The market weight for each pig varies from 275-300 lbs. TriOak also pays for and supplies the trucking and transportation of the pigs in and out to market.
Chandler’s barn is a 2480 barn for full grown pigs. This means that it holds 2,480 full grown hogs. It is also referred to as a Double-Stock or Ween to Finish(market) barn. The double-stock barn holds 4,960 pigs when they are first weened. He then raises half of these pigs to 30-40 lbs where they are shipped to a finishing barn. The other half stays until they reach market weight. Each pin holds about 50 pigs weighing 300 pounds. Once hogs reach a certain weight, TriOak switches the feed to a heavier feed to finish out their term. Before Chandler can receive a new shipment of pigs, the entire building must be pressure washed and sanitized to prevent spread of sickness and disease.
The barn is regulated by computer which controls temperature, heat lamps, and fans. When weened pigs are first brought in they are put under LP Bruters. These are basically heating lamps that run off of LP tanks. The barn is typically set at 85-90 degrees. The fans are used to make sure all the pig gases are sucked out of the barn. All manure is contained in a large pit that is 8-10 feet deep and runs the entire length of the building. Once it is full, Chandler uses giant hoses to pump the manure out and spread over his fields as fertilizer. Dalton has a fieldsman that works for TriOak to help sort pins at their desire to send to market. The fieldsman is also there if there he has any questions or is uncertain of diseases in the pigs. They will then discuss the issues and decide if a veterinarian needs to be called to run tests.
There is a daily routine Chandler does each day for his hog building. Before entering and upon leaving, Chandler must change boots and clothes. The routine consists of a walk-through to check on all the pigs and their pens to make sure they are healthy and stable. He also checks to make sure none of the pigs are injured or have a foot caught in the pins. If any pigs appear to be sick, they are put into a designated sick pen and nursed back to health. This makes it easier to treat. Any dead pigs must be put into a composer so they can decompose. He checks the water pressure and automatic feed system levels and records these to mandate their intake per day. This is so he can regulate and measure if the pigs are sick if it changes in a big way or if they remain at a constant rate. Chandler vaccinates every pig himself and records every CC/per day and what type of vaccination was given.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog! My name is Brooke Griswold and I am from Macomb, Illinois although I now reside in Little York, Illinois. I am currently a senior at Western Illinois University. In December of 2016 I will graduate with a Minor in Agricultural Science with an emphasis on Animal Science and a Minor in Chemistry. I work at Chick’s on the Square and Roseville Veterinary Clinic for large and small animals. My favorite part about work is going on calls with the vet, working at the Fairview Sale Barn, and helping my boyfriend with his pigs.