As is true for many of you, the weather has been interfering with our regular activity schedule lately. My daughter, now in 7th grade basketball, often waits to hear whether or not their games will have to be postponed. I’ve had to pay extra attention to our chickens as the wind can blow the cover off their coop, or the water may freeze – so many things can go wrong! I get many questions this time of year about how Niman Ranch pigs handle Iowa winters.
Niman Ranch farmers raise their pigs outdoors on pasture or in deeply bedded pens. The deeply bedded pens can be in old fashioned barns, hoop buildings or other traditional farm structures. The pigs love to root through the bedding and find a nice soft place to lie down. This deeply bedded system provides warmth during these frigid temperatures. When the bedding gets soiled by the pigs the farmer applies clean bedding on top. This starts a composting process which generates heat, like an electric blanket for the pigs. The pigs can go outside to eat and get a drink whenever they want or stay inside the deeply bedded barn or hoop building to keep warm. Inside they have plenty of room to move around and behave naturally. Our farmers take special care during these winter months in raising their livestock.