Using Dr. Temple Grandin’s principles and designs for low-stress, humane animal handling (http://www.grandin.com/), we are in the midst of constructing our handling system for weighing and transporting our pigs. After drawing up the plans, cleaning, leveling, surveying, pouring concrete, and welding the posts and walls, we’re just about ready to weigh our pigs. The design utilizes the animals’ natural following behavior, and the circular crowd pen leads them to believe they’re returning to where they came from. The chute is so long to give the pig a perception of open space in front, preventing them from freezing up. Its a precise width so the animals cannot turn around or injure themselves. This project has been incredibly time-consuming and challenging, but we believe that this low stress system is essential for the health of the pigs and ourselves. The payoff comes in two ways: 1) The pigs are calm and therefore easy to work and load, and 2) The flavor of the meat is enhanced dramatically because the animals do not become tense, upset, or adrenaline infused leading up to slaughter. Video coming soon, but here are some pics of the construction process.