The story of New Zealand Born and Raised Pork
Regardless of the production system used, New Zealand pork is produced to high standards to produce high quality NZ born and raised pork.
From farm to plate, the story of New Zealand pork is one that needs to be told, explained and shared. We care for our animals and the lives they lead while in our care.
This is our story, the story of New Zealand born and raised pork.
This journey begins with female pigs. A healthy non pregnant sow can mate every 21 days until she becomes pregnant.
Female pigs are either introduced to boars when receptive to mating, or are artificially inseminated. A mating stall (bail) is used for up to seven days to allow sows to be individually fed and prevent bullying.
Sows are moved into pens within sheds, or into paddocks that they will live in while they are pregnant. These pens or paddocks allow sows to move around freely, socialise with others, and be monitored by stockpersons carefully for health and body condition during their pregnancy. They will remain here for most of their pregnancy (approximately 115days).
Pigfarmers carefully manage their pregnant sows, preventing fighting and bullying, making sure they are all well fed, while also helping sows to experience a healthy pregnancy.
Birth and Piglet protection
A week before giving birth, pregnant sows are moved into the farrowing or birthing sheds or paddocks. They each have their own space that meets their needs for having a quiet, separate area to give birth in.
This housing can include the use of piglet protection pens (with farrowing crates) to ensure individual care for the sow and her piglets during and after the birthing process. Piglet protection pens assist in preventing the sow unintentionally crushing her piglets. They also protect the stockperson from sows which might become aggressive, which is a normal maternal behaviour when their piglets are handled during routine tasks like fostering.
Most sows give birth naturally, but stockpersons are trained to assist and intervene if complications arise. New-born piglets are carefully attended to following birth to ensure their survival and growth.
Sows remain in the farrowing area, nursing their piglets for about 3–4 weeks until the piglets are weaned.
From weaning to mating
After three to four weeks, it’s time for weaning. The piglets are introduced to other piglets, moved to a clean, warm and dry pen, and given solid feed. The growing pigs receive the attention and care of stockpersons which allows them to grow and mature. Farmers tailor their management depending on the pigs’ production stage, ensuring they have enough space, the right environment, and a specially formulated diet fed at the correct levels.
In New Zealand, pig production can be either outdoors, indoors or a combination, under one of three recognised pig farming systems:
Free range – where all sows, boars and their piglets live outside through all production stages.
Free farmed - sows and boars live outside all their life, and their progeny, when weaned, are brought inside into shelter and usually raised on straw.
Indoor – where all sows, boars and their piglets live inside through all production stages
Food for Kiwis
Once the desired weight is achieved, the pigs are transported for processing. This is typically around five to six months of age.
The pigs are prepared and processed to the highest New Zealand food safety standards, providing Kiwis with high quality New Zealand Born and Raised pork.