Our nutritionists take great care to develop up to 15 different proprietary grain-based diets to provide the energy, protein, fatty acids, minerals and vitamins pigs need to stay healthy and strong. Special mixes of vitamins and minerals are tailored to each stage of pig growth. These mixes help keep the pigs healthly, reducing the need for medications, while producing nutrient-rich pork with better color and texture.
With barns are designed to provide our pigs with comfortable living conditions as well as protect them from injury and illness. The barns keep the pigs cool in the summer and warm in the winter by preventing exposure to extreme temperature swings. They receive fresh air through natural and power ventilation that helps eliminate heat, water vapor and air pathogens and pollutants. Their manure is regularly flushed from the barns to improve air quality and reduce disease.
Watch our video as a member of our team, full-time veterinarian Dr. Rebecca Robbins, gives you a tour of a Seaboard Foods sow barn. You’ll learn how farm employees are trained to tell when a pig is comfortable and what works better for the animals. You’ll see both the individual pens (also called gestation crates) and open pen housing (also called group pens) we use at Seaboard Foods.
We are dedicated to raising healthy pigs, so we can deliver wholesome pork to our families and yours. Our veterinary team develops a total care plan designed to keep our pigs healthy. This plan includes keeping our barns clean, feeding our pigs a balanced, nutritious diet and immunizing our pigs, as well as the selective use of antibiotics.
Watch our video as Seaboard Foods’ lead veterinarian, Dr. Luc Dufresne, explains how antibiotics are used as just one part of a total care plan to raise healthy pigs. You’ll also hear from Dr. Rob Elder, our director of food safety, who will discuss the safeguards in place to ensure safe, wholesome pork.
Although some practices may seem uncomfortable to those who don't spend their days with the pigs, these practices are done to prevent problems and enhance the pigs' chances for survival and improve meat quality. Our goal is to do these practices humanely and reduce discomfort.
Tail Docking - Research indicates that if tails are left intact as pigs grow, severe tail biting and cannibalistic behavior increases, leading to injury, suffering and sometimes animal death. Tail docking remains an essential practice to improve long-term animal welfare and to reduce mortality of growing pigs. Pig tails are docked one-half inch from the base at one to three days of age. The practice is quick and piglets resume normal activity within one minute after the procedure. To reduce discomfort and to help prevent infection, care takers administer a pain medication. Castration - To provide consumers with the best-tasting and highest quality pork, castration is performed at one to five days of age. Research indicates pain behaviors are lessened in young piglets compared with pigs that are over two weeks of age. Sharp, disinfected knifes are used to make the incision during castration followed by a pain medication to reduce discomfort.Euthanasia - When treatment fails or the animal is not likely to respond to care and treatment in a timely manner, trained farm employees use euthanasia to prevent animal suffering. Seaboard Foods does not allow blunt force trauma to euthanize animals on any company-owned farms. Pigs less than three weeks of age are euthanized using a carbon dioxide chamber. This is the preferred method for nursery pigs with captive bolt as the secondary method. All finisher pigs, sows and boars are euthanized using captive bolt that is adjusted to the animal's size.
Different types of barns are used and located separately to help reduce disease as well as keep the pigs comfortable. We thoroughly clean and santitize the barns after each load of pigs are moved out to prevent diseases. In addition, our employees follow proper protocols before entering and exiting th barns, including showering each time, to keep our pigs healthy.