We offer services to both commercial pig units, and an increasing number of pigs on small holdings.
Our role on commercial pig farms is two-fold:
1. Disease control
2. Farm Assurance under the Red Tractor scheme.
Diagnosis and effective treatment is very important to the profitability of a pig unit, especially with tight margins at present caused by high cereal prices.
Diagnosis is essential and usually involves laboratory analysis. To this end, having the VLA so close to the practice for post-mortem examination is a great advantage.
With accurate diagnosis, vaccination programmes or medication (which probably will be in-feed) can be investigated.
With traceability and welfare assurance now being demanded by the big supermarkets, it is necessary to be registered with one of the three pig farm assurance schemes working under the Red Tractor logo.
The normal requirement is a Quarterly Veterinary visit and report where the welfare issues including housing, environment, health and management issues are observed. The Assurance body will also visit the unit annually to inspect that the farm is conforming to their standards. Participating in these Assurance schemes give more retail outlets to the farm.
Pig keeping on a small scale is becoming very popular. People are keeping them for meat production and either buy-in weaners for fattening or breed their own and carry them through to finishing. Before you can move any pigs onto your land, you need to have a county parish holding number (CPH). Contact the Rural Payments Agency on 0845 603 7777. It is easy to apply and they will send you information with regards to ID and movements.
Pigs are easy to keep as long as you follow a few simple rules. They are social animals and often do better in small groups. If kept outdoors they will require a run with shelter. Pigs suffer from sunburn and heatstroke so it is important to provide a wallow and have access to water at all times. There are a variety of vaccines available for pigs but the important vaccine for smallholders is Erysipelas. Erysipelas is a bacterial disease which causes characteristic skin lesions or sudden death. This vaccine is available in small doses and can be combined with the Parvo vaccine. It is also important also to worm pigs kept outdoors and should be done every 4-6months. You should check the withhold period of any treatment as this will affect when you can send your pigs to abattoir. Biosecurity is an important factor no matter how small your herd is.
We are more than happy to provide advice to help you get the most out of your smallholding, and ensure that your livestock receive the right husbandry to maintain them in good health and welfare.