One of your clients, Charlie McSqueel, calls you
while you’re brewing your morning coffee. “Can you stop out at my
East wean-to-finish barn today? I don’t know what’s wrong, but
it’s got me really worried.”
You recall the place Charlie is describing. The wean-to-finish barn was built about 4 years ago. Charlie has a contract to buy 12 pound piglets (weaned pigs) from a large sow farm in the neighboring county. Every 25 weeks, he receives a group of 2,000 pigs from this supplier. After about eight weeks, Charlie sells half of the pigs as 50-pound feeder pigs to another farmer. The rest of the pigs in this wean-to-finish barn are kept in the same building until they reach their final slaughter weight of 260 pounds; hence the name “wean-to-finish barn.” Charlie also has an identical barn just one mile to the west. Soon after the East barn is filled, he fills the West barn with new pigs from the same source, so on average they are about two weeks younger.
“They’re dying! Two days ago it was 5 pigs, yesterday it was 12, and this morning I pulled out 24 dead pigs. I bet there’s another dozen that’ve died since I was in there! They’re all sucked up and skinny and some of them look like they’ve got ‘Streppy’ brain problems,” he tells you. Then he adds, “The last group we had in this barn had a lot of problems too. We lost a lot of them, but I thought it was because of the PRRS (Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak that the sow farm was going through and assumed it was some kind of Strep suis. We’ve got to get a handle on this!” Sounds pretty dramatic. You tell Charlie that you’ll meet him at the barn at 2:00 that afternoon.