Keeping your Pigs Healthy - A Simple Guide for Smallholders

Following some simple biosecurity rules can not only help keep your own pigs healthy and disease free, but also help to protect the national pig health status.  With African Swine Fever  and Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea coming ever closer we all need to work together to protect our pigs.  

Biosecurity is fundamental to your animal’s health 

  • At a farm level biosecurity is a set of practical measures taken to prevent infection entering your farm, and to control spread of infection within your farm. A biosecurity program is only as strong as its weakest link.  Risk factors are unique to each farm and so your plan should be farm specific.
  • If you have to buy animals, check their health status first. Ask about vaccinations, worming, external parasite treatments and other medications.
  • Isolate new arrivals for at least 30 days. Attend to new arrivals last and use separate overalls and equipment.  This would also include any animals that are returning from a show.  Call us if you see any signs of illness.
  • When using medications follow all label instructions including the dose rate and withholding periods.  Keep neat and accurate records of any veterinary treatments.
  • Ask all visitors to wear clean boots and clothes before they come into contact with your pigs.  If they have been in contact with other pigs you may need to specify a ‘pig clean’ time period between when they last saw a pig to when they are allowed on to your holding.  Our most high health units require us to shower in, and specify ‘three nights pig clean’, which is why we usually visit them first thing on a Monday morning.
  • Develop a herd health program with us, and follow it!  Including vaccinations, worm and lice treatments and a suitable diet.
  • Regularly inspect your pigs, isolate any pigs at the first sign of illness and contact us, especially if you have any unexplained deaths.
  • Identify what diseases your pigs may carry, and vaccinate if possible.
  • Keep records of pig movements on and off your property.  Do not move sick animals to a show/gathering or to another property.
  • Clean and disinfect all vehicles and equipment before leaving and returning to your property.  Ideally do not allow delivery lorries to enter at all, but have them unload at the edge of your property.
  • Ensure your fencing is maintained to prevent any escapees and also any unauthorised entry.
  • Try and minimise any contact from wild birds and rodents with your pigs, feedstuffs and water sources.
  • Feeding pigs it is illegal to feed pigs anything that contains meat or meat products, or may have been in contact with meat from mammals.  This includes used cooking oil, offal and food scraps.
  • Dispose of dead stock promptly and correctly.  Have a collection point away from your pig housing.

If you need any further help or advice do please contact us, or check out this leaflet: