PIGS AND TRAVELING

I like to share informational info on rescues and sanctuaries as it helps to see other views. Every rescue and sanctuary does things differently. Doesn’t mean it’s my way or the highway. Just like to give different views on how things are done. Today I want to talk about transporting pigs.

Transporting pet pigs are not like transporting dogs or cats. Takes knowing the animal and what that animal needs. We have used different transporting methods over the years with good results on all of them.

If transporting one pet pig, we have used PETS LLC. It runs from Memphis TN up the NE and also down to FL and the cost is $175.00. They do an excellent job and pig is transported in an ac unit in a private crate. Checked on about every two hours just as they check on the dogs and cats traveling with them. It’s a great group if you are in their path and need transport for one pet pig. Or dog or cat and other animals that can fit in crates. We also do transport by car if only one, maybe two pigs.

Our organization runs what we refer to as the Piggy Train. It sort of runs all over the place with five or more pigs. Up to about 50 depending on the trailer that is used. Our drivers are special and have pigs of their own and/or sanctuaries. They are aware of what the needs of the pigs are from old, young and even sick ones or at least those with some health issues such as arthritis and mal-nutritioned pet pigs. They do a super job and to my knowledge have never lost a pig in transport.

Things you must look out for when transporting pet pigs in trailers. Never use an enclosed trailer like from U-Haul. They must have air and in hot weather must be kept cool. Our drivers use sprayers to spray the pigs off to keep them cool in the heat. This is done about every two hours or as needed. Sometimes we dump bags of ice in on the hay to help cool them and make it comfortable for them. Remember that pigs don’t sweat and can over heat easily. It’s nice when you have a trailer with installed fans also. Having water for them is a must. We like to have them fed in the morning and then they settle down and sleep most of the day. The driver again checks on them about every two hours or as needed. Sometimes in extreme heat they are checked and sprayed down every hour.

One suggestion is to travel with a remote thermometer in the trailer and the receiver in the tow vehicle to better monitor the temperature in the trailer. The transmitter in the trailer should be at pig level. An enclosed horse trailer can be as dangerous in the heat as a box truck or trailer. Care must be taken that an inspired pig cannot jump out a rear trailer door. One could arrive at the destination with no idea the pig is missing or when it jumped out.

If transporting in an open pick-up truck, crates need to be well secured, both so the pig cannot get the door open and escape and to prevent the crate from sliding around or being ejected from the truck in the case of an accident. Bunge cords work great for securing the crate doors and to connect it to the truck to keep it from sliding around. Consider also the temperature and whether it is safe to transport at a certain time of day. During the summer it will likely be necessary to travel at night and plan accordingly. Even summer nights can be stifling.

Plenty of extra water should be carried in case it’s needed, even if a trip is expected to take only a few hours. Things can happen and it may be needed. Cat litter jugs work well.

Because our drivers are experienced with pigs they do a super job and because we have contacts in most states, they can stop and unload in a holding pen for the night or if traveling by night to beat the heat, then a day time temporary pen can be set up . This allows the pigs to get out and walk and eat and drink and just relax before continuing their journey the next day. Having the pigs secured cannot be stressed enough. Double gates at trailer doors might very well prevent an escape. Stressed pigs will look for an opportunity to rush past the person as a trailer door is opened and even a small pig is difficult to grab as it stampedes by.

We really appreciate our drivers and send a big thank you to Su Lee , Sue Levitt , Jan Alber-Senn , Dawn Camp and I hope I haven’t forgotten anyone. Helen Morrison is great at picking up those single ones in Oh and even fostering until transport can be arranged. Carol Eiswald is a great holding place when they need held for a night or even a few days. Dale and Elaine West of Rooterville are great at loaning us their truck and trailer to use also. So many jump in to help physically and many donate for fuel and food for the drivers.

And last but not least, remember that each pig must be blood tested for PRV and Brucellosis and have a health certificate from a certified veterinary. Remember that not all veterinarians know a lot about pigs. Only the little bit they learn in vet school. It is not a top priority for most. If they don’t see and treat a lot of mini pigs in their practice, then their knowledge is not up to par and they may not know all the needs of the pigs. Not saying they don’t try and they do give what knowledge they have gained.

Please feel free to leave comments and questions at rescue@farec.org . We will try and answer to the best of our abilities.