What Do I Do Before a Disaster?
A disaster can occur at any time. Preparing ahead of time and acting quickly is the best way to keep your family and livestock safe.
- Make arrangements with a friend or neighbor living nearby to take care of your animals in the event disaster strikes when you cannot return home.
- Decide ahead of time if you will evacuate your animals or shelter them in place if an emergency occurs.
- For pet pigs that you plan on evacuating, make sure that you have a means of moving and loading the animal. Have a small crate or cage for small pet pigs (pot-bellied) and find out ahead of time where you will take your pig.
- If you plan to keep your animals on the farm during an emergency, decide ahead of time where you would keep your animals. The best places should be decided ahead of time based on the number of animals, the farm facilities and the type of emergency.
- Swine are herd animals and get upset when separated from their herd mates. It is important to have safe handling and loading facilities in advance of an emergency. Have snares and enough hog panels/boards to move animals in case one happens to escape or you need to move them to another barn or load them.
- Locate and prearrange an evacuation site for your animals that is outside your immediate area. Good fencing or pens are needed for pigs at these facilities so they do not escape. It is important to check for availability of these housing options beforehand.
- Check for alternate water sources in case a disaster creates power outages that cause pumps and automatic watering systems to stop working. Have contacts with the local fire company or local vendors that would be able to bring water to your farm when your power is out.
- Keep insurance coverage on your farm and animals current
- Always have enough of feed and bedding on the farm to last 7-10 days. Try to avoid purchases of grain at the last minute. See http://www.training.fema.gov/emiweb/downloads/is10_a-8.pdf for the short term dietary requirements for farm animals during disasters.
- Have water for at least 72 hours for all your animals. See water intake recommendations for swine (https://www.nfacc.ca/codes-of-practice/pig-code#appendixg)
- If you plan to evacuate your pigs, keep trailers or other vehicles for evacuation well maintained and easily accessible.
- Have important animal health records and contact information together in a sealed plastic bag or document holder. Keep one copy at the farm and take one with you when you evacuate. These documents should include an inventory of your animals (number , ID, sex, breed and color), your pigs veterinary and health records, veterinary and other important contact information.
- Have some form of permanent identification on your animals. Photographs of your pigs may be helpful for some breeds.
- Decide where to store grain and other farm supplies to keep them safe during a disaster.
- Become familiar with local evacuation routes.
- Visit your county Office of Emergency Management website to sign up for automatic alerts and updates.
- Have a backup generator available in case the electric goes out.
- For pet pigs, it is important that you practice evacuating. Pigs can be stubborn when you want them to move.
- For larger operations that have pastured pigs with electric fences, make sure you have a backup generator or move your animals inside before an emergency in case there is an abrupt power failure.
- Test or run your backup generator a few times per year and make sure that you have adequate fuel to run the generator for at least 72 hours.
- When transporting or loading pigs it is important that pigs be handles quietly and patiently, especially in new environments and with a stock board. It is important that they have visual and body contact with each other all the time.
- Pigs are unable to regulate their body temperature so traveling during hot and humid conditions can be dangerous. During hot and humid times, it is best to move them in the early morning or late in the afternoon/evening. Pig's skin is sensitive to sunlight so transport vehicles should be covered.