Animal Welfare Approved
Master Blend Family Farms is working hard to change the landscape of the pasture raised pork industry. Master Blend Family Farms was AWA certified on August 8, 2013. At our farms, we subscribe to the animal welfare position put fourth by the National Pork Producers Council. Everything we do, from raising the standards of production efficiency to an industry-leading focus on environmental stewardship and animal welfare, stems from our commitment to providing the best quality product at the lowest price.
Our swine operation follows a pasture rotation concept.Pasture 1 — Farrowing Pasture
All of our adult female hogs (sows) have pastures designed to ensure their comfort and well-being during the breeding, gestation and farrowing (the birthing process for pigs) cycles. When the sows are open or unbred, they run on the pasture with an adult male hog (service boar). The service boars to our litters come from the very best, genetically superior, adult male hogs. Top notch specialist with years of experience take special care in selecting our service boars to insure the best possible combination of desirable traits for today's consumers. The sows remain with the boars until they are bred and are later grouped with other sows that have expected due dates relative to theirs.
The gestation period for sows is 114 days. During the gestation period sows are individually monitored for a variety of well-being indicators such as adequate food and water intake, weight, body condition, absence of lesions, and sound feet and leg condition. Each sow has an individual health record which is used to track her health status and productivity.
A few days before the sow is due to farrow she is moved to a specially designed farrowing area. Today we are incorporating more group pens in our operations. In this pasture she receives individual attention as she prepares to give birth. If she needs assistance with the delivery, a specially trained person assists with the delivery and immediate care of the newborn pigs. A typical litter has from 10 – 12 piglets.
After the piglets are born they stay with their mother until weaning at approximately eight weeks of age. During this time they nurse and also learn to eat a prepared dry ration, growing to approximately 10 – 12 pounds each. After the pigs are weaned they are prepared to be moved to the next pasture.
Pasture 2 — The Nursery
The nursery pasture is designed to meet the special needs of newly weaned pigs. Nursery pastures have 2 sets of infant waters to provide the right amount of water as the young pigs grow. Typically, twenty or more pigs are placed in each pen. The pen is sized to ensure plenty of room for the pigs to move around, play and get exercise. Each pen has its own water supply and feeders. The young pigs are fed a series of specially formulated feed diets during their stay at the nursery, formulations which meet the changing nutritional needs of the animal. Pigs in the nursery are looked after by personnel who are trained to understand their special needs.
Pigs typically stay at the nursery pasture for approximately eight weeks. During this time they grow to about 50 pounds. Once pigs reach this stage of growth they are moved to a third set of pastures, known as a market lots.
At the market lots the animals have bigger stainless feeders and pairs of waters, which are very similar to the nursery pastures, except they are quite a bit larger in order to accommodate the continued growth of the pigs, giving them plenty of room to move around and get exercise.
During their stay, approximately 22 weeks, they grow from 50 pounds to market weight of approximately 260 pounds. At this time they are loaded onto the stock trailers for transport to a processing facility.