The pigs live in roomy barns, with windows and fans for natural light and ventilation.
The barns also have exhaust and ceiling fans to circulate the air. The floors of the pens are covered with straw which is changed twice each day.
The sows and boars live inside and outside year round. The barn is equipped with doors that allow the pigs to go outside when ever they wish. The straw on the floor keeps them warm and dry in the winter and there is a mud hole outside for them in the summer to keep them cool.
On the Smith farm, only before and after the sows farrow (give birth) are they confined inside a metal-barred stall called a farrowing crate. It is lined with straw for the sow and her new born piglets. The reason for the farrowing crate is so the sow does not lie on her babies and injure or kill them. The crates are cleaned out twice a day and fresh straw put down.
A heat lamp is used to keep the piglets warm. After they get stronger, in about 7 to 10 days the sow and her piglets are moved into an open pen with straw to give them more room to move about. The little pigs can leave the pen and go outside to enjoy themselves during the summer. When the little pigs are 5 to 6 weeks old they are weaned and moved to another barn where they are in open pens. The sows then go outside to get rebred.
There is no pit system in the barns so the pigs are not living over a pit of manure and foul smell, which you will find at larger pig operations.
On the Smith farm they grow the barley. This results in a sweet-smelling straw their pigs love to chew. The rations for the pigs are also made at home. No feed is bought from a feed company. No medicated feed is used. After harvest, the manure is plowed under to produce a "green manure fallow" which reduces the need for chemical fertilizers. This also enriches the soil’s organic matter making the barley a more nutrient rich feed. I am one of the few farmers to use clover for a green manure in the province. The only fertilizer used on the field is the manure from the barns, which gets spread every day.
On our farm we use NO antibiotics IN THE FEED, NO steroids, and NO artificial growth enhancers. Pesticides, Fungicides, Chemical spraying, and Commercial Fertilizers are REDUCED by growing clover for a green manure and plowing it under. My hogs are fed the highest quality feed, which contributes to a lean healthier meat.