Youth Livestock Safety - 3 - Swine Safety: Facilities and Equipment

Swine Safety Lesson 3: Facilities and Equipment

Keeping yourself and your show pig safe includes making sure buildings, pens, and equipment are well maintained and in good working order. The facilities you use to house and work your show pig should be well designed, strong, and safe for you and your animals.

The pig’s housing area should include a covered area for shelter from the weather and an open area. Select housing that is easy to clean and disinfect. The building should also be well ventilated. For the health of your pigs, when your project is finished for the year and your pigs are gone it is advisable to till the soil in the pen and expose it to sunlight for at least 3 days before new pigs occupy the pen. If pigs are kept indoors on concrete flooring, clean the area thoroughly and disinfect with a product approved for swine facilities.

Keep buildings, alleys, and pens neat and tidy. Remember: Slips, trips, and falls cause many injuries when working with livestock. Make sure you have a place to put all your supplies, equipment, and feed and keep all of those items in their proper place. Clean up spills as soon as they happen. Don’t allow manure or feed to accumulate in alleyways.

Keep mechanical equipment clean and well maintained. Clean and sanitize grooming tools regularly, not only to keep them operating properly, but also to remove any hair that can spread other organisms (such as lice).

Inspect electrical cords on clippers often. Replace cords that have exposed wires. Use only electrical outlets have three-pronged receptacles; if outlets are located outdoors, make sure they are waterproof and have ground fault circuit interrupters to keep you and your show pig from getting an electric shock.

Make sure there is good lighting for indoor and outdoor areas where you will be working with your show pig. Lighting should be bright and not create shadowy areas. Your show pig can get scared when it goes from a brightly lit area to a dark shadowy area.

Keep fences, gates, latches, etc. repaired. Replace or repair equipment that doesn’t work. Gates that are hard to open can cause muscle strains or can pinch you if you have to push hard on them and they open or close unexpectedly. Wire ties or nails poking out of fence boards can cause scrapes or puncture wounds to you or you show pig.

For showing your pig you will probably want a show stick which can be a pig cane, piece of pvc pipe, or whip. You may also want a small, soft-bristled brush to brush off any dirt. Be sure to clean the equipment after each practice session with your show pig. Regular cleaning will help kill any microorganisms that might spread disease.

Discussion Questions


What equipment do you use when working and showing your pig?

What do you do with your buildings and pens to help you stay safe when working with your show pig?

How do you care for your equipment to help you stay safe when using it to work with your show pig?


How can facilities contribute to a safer environment for you and your show pig?

How does properly maintaining equipment contribute to keeping you and your show pig safe?


Why are good housekeeping and proper maintenance necessary for personal safety?


List some of the safety practices you do each day – in your home, at work or school?

Suggested Activities:

  • Set up a practice show at a project meeting to practice show ring safety.
  • Take the Swine Safety Assessment Quiz at (link is external)
  • Evaluate the safety of your livestock facilities using the Safety Audit Checklist. Make note of potential dangers and work with your parents to correct the dangers.
  • Visit and evaluate project members’ facilities with an eye on safety preparedness.
swine handlers and trainers