Our Rescue Stories:
Housing And Security
- The adaptation process will again come into play as we construct housing and shelters for the pigs. Many of these pigs have never seen man-made shelters before while others may have known nothing else in their lives but man-made structures.
-Although experience has shown us that the pigs prefer to live in outdoor nests for the majority of the year, the occasional winter weather mandates that we provide them with a means to escape the snow, ice, cold rain and gusty winter winds. There will be no 'central management' area for pigs at The Preserve. Each naturally occurring colony of pigs will be treated as a separate herd. Barns and run-in sheds will be provided for each separate colony. Typically, pigs will form social groups of between 10 and 20 pigs. The majority of the housing units will be wooden, skid mounted and portable so that we can reconfigure the layout of The Preserve as our population changes and as the various social groups relocate around The Preserve.
-In some cases we will use the natural terrain to build shelters. The many bluffs and small caves, which abound on The Preserve, lend themselves to easy conversion into natural shelters for those pigs for whom sleeping in an enclosed, man made barn is a scary proposition. Support posts of natural timbers, rudimentary roofs extending out from the caves and bluffs and rough wood sides over a natural bluff walls will be all that many of these pigs need to stay warm and secure from the inclement weather.
-Natural bedding of hay will be provided for each housing structure. Hopefully, The Preserve will generate sufficient grass in our pastures to allow us to be self-sufficient in this area...if not, it will be purchased locally. Old hay will be removed from the barns and run-in sheds on a regular basis and used to provide compost for the garden plots.
-Security for the animals is of paramount concern. Perimeter fencing will be 52-inch high, 4-gauge, galvanized cattle panels reinforced with wooden brace posts every 200 feet and metal 'tee' posts every 8 feet. While this will deter the majority of predators, gates are always the weak point of any fencing system. We will employ only lightweight, mesh-covered stockade-type gates with mechanical locking systems, which should deter the majority of predatory animals...as well as the occasional human trespasser. The Preserve will be clearly posted as a no trespassing area and will not be open to the public. All gates to the pig access areas will remain locked. Caregivers living on the property will complete a 360-degree perimeter fence check on a daily, random basis to ensure that the fencing is intact and the animals are secure. Eventually, guardian dogs and/or donkeys will be employed to provide additional security within the pig living areas. Both of these animals have long, well-proven track records of protecting herds of prey animals.
-Biosecurity protocols have been developed, which are designed to keep the pig-human interface to a minimum. Our goal is that no diseases or disease bearing pathogens enter the pig access areas and no possibly contagious pathogens leave the pig access areas. Buffer zones between the pig access areas and human areas of The Preserve have been constructed. No private vehicles or delivery vehicles will be allowed to enter the pig access areas and no 'farm equipment' will be allowed to exit the pig access areas without first being subjected to disinfection and power washing. Human biosecurity protocols of footbaths, hand washing, visitor logs and other industry standard biosecurity procedures have been implemented to maintain and protect the health of the pigs and to safeguard the health of our community. The Preserve's biosecurity plan will be available, upon request, to the office of the State Veterinarian and/or appropriate officials of the State Department of Agriculture for review and comment.
-Pigs entering The Preserve will not leave the premises for any reason other than for transport to an approved veterinary medical facility or for transport to another sanctuary once their life at The Preserve is over. In the future, we may consider establishing a 'geriatric' herd for those pigs who have spent the majority of their lives at The Preserve. This project would allow older, less mobile pigs to move from the total freedom of The Preserve into a more carefully managed and controlled environment where they could live out the remainder of their days.
-Occasionally, on a case-by-case basis, visitors may be allowed on The Preserve for purposes of research, to render medical care to the animals or for filming the operation of The Preserve. For all such visits, the security and biosecurity of the animals will be our primary concern, and, in all cases, the privacy of the pigs will be respected. Visitors will be accompanied at all times by one of the primary caretakers and they will observe all biosecurity protocols while they are in the pig access areas.