When Pigs Fly! Or Do They? bESTology Week 13

Published by rrfenton on

When Pigs Fly! Or Do They? bESTology Week 13

Image: fixr.com

Image: fixr.com

Can pigs fly? Maybe not with wings and a jetpack but can they be transported on an airline?

Transporting livestock, plants and farm commodities by various modes of transportation requires careful planning and must meet all local, state and federal transport regulations.

Each transport vehicle must be constructed and loaded to prevent any of the load from falling, blowing, dropping, sifting, leaking or otherwise escaping from the vehicle. Handling procedures and vehicle selection must also consider weather conditions, distance and weight.

As a bESTologist, we have planted our crops now it is time to see if pigs can fly!



Plants, as well as animals, are regulated by each state for which ones are allowed to cross state lines. This effort is to minimize the spread of harmful insects, diseases and other pests. Generate a brainstorming session and name as many plants and animals that have transport regulations across state lines in the U.S.

Research historical import/export events such as the invasion of red fire ants into America and determine the outcomes. Discuss how invasive species can impact farmers and the economy. Justify why regulations are needed to ensure the health and safety of native plants and animals.

Airlines have safety protocols in place to allow the transport of animals. For example, short-nosed dogs have recently been banned due to breathing problems at high altitudes and cold temperatures. Since pigs have similar short noses, determine if pigs can fly on domestic airlines. Explore whether or not a pig has flown in the first-class section of an airliner.

BEST Farm Journal

Livestock must be managed and handled properly during transport in accordance to state and federal regulations.

Using your farm journal, prepare a plan to transport 30 pigs (or any type of livestock of your choice) from Wichita, Kansas to your hometown. Determine whether truck, rail, air or barge would be the most cost effective and suitable for the transport. Include in your decision making process air temperature, date and time of transport, bedding, loading and unloading as well as other good handling and transport practices.

To jumpstart the process, review the above resources, read the following facts and research additional online materials.

  • Loading ramps should not exceed a 150 angle (the steeper the ramp equals increased heart rate)
  • Cleats on the ramp should be spaced 8” apart
  • Pigs have a tendency to move from a darker area towards a brighter light
  • Moving pigs in smaller groups is preferred (research shows moving four at a time is best)
  • Transporting pigs for longer than three hours requires space for them to lie down – 4.97sq. ft. per pig
  • Hot weather requires 15-20% more sq. ft. of transport space per pig
  • Cold weather required 15-20% less sq. ft. transport space per pig
  • Straw is the preferred transport bedding for pigs in cold weather
  • Sand is the preferred transport bedding for pigs in the hot weather

Share your plan with other team members. Compare and contrast shipping methods and evaluate which plan would be the most economical and safe to transport livestock.

BEST Connection

It’s robot time and there is no reason to reinvent the wheel!

Evaluate each simple and compound structure(s) or device on your robot and determine how it could be used to load, transport and unload livestock or plants on a farm.

An example is a wheel. Wheels are used on tractors, trucks, trailers and more. Continue describing the uses such as gears, servos, PVC and the many other robot components. Compare your ideas with your teammates.

Community Connection

As bESTologists, serving our community is crucial. Heifer International is an example of how a simple idea can generate a huge impact.

Heifer distributes animals, along with agricultural and values-based training, to families in need around the world as a means of providing self-sufficiency. Recipients must agree to “pass on the gift” by sharing animal offspring, as well as the skills and knowledge of animal husbandry and agricultural training with other impoverished families.

As a BEST team, determine how you can you create a program in your community to serve others in need. Create a plan and put it in action today! Be Your BEST!

Fertilizer for the Brain

Pig Trivia:   

  • If pigs can fly, can they swim?
  • Explain the difference between a pig, hog, swine, boar and sow.
  • Name the famous Spanish explorer who brought the first pig to North America in 1539.
  • How many domestic pigs are on the planet?
  • How many gallons of water can a pig drink in a day?
  • A mature pig has how many teeth?
  • Why do pigs wallow in mud?
  • Why do many farmers put ring in pigs’ noses?
  • How has the military used pigs to identify land mines?
  • How many athletic mascots can you name that are associated with pigs?
  • Where does the phrase “living high on the hog” come from?
  • Where does the phrase “pork barrel politics” come from?
  • What do heart surgeons’ use from a pig to implant into human hearts?
  • How many products in your home are derived from pig fat and other pig products?
  • Can a pig fly?

Bloom’s Taxonomy: brainstorm, compare, contrast, create, describe, determine, discuss, evaluate, explore, generate, include, justify, name, plan, prepare, read, research, review, share, use, write

Workforce Skills: reading comprehension, active listening, critical thinking, speaking, active learning, writing, service orientation, complex problem solving, equipment selection, systems evaluation, science, judgment and decision making, technology design

While the information contained in this website has been compiled from sources believed to be current and reliable, Friends of BEST in Alabama, Inc. (FBA) cannot be held responsible for any errors, omissions or content changes. Links made from this website are to reputable organizations at the time of posting. However, FBA cannot be held responsible for content on such linked websites. The existence of such links does not represent an endorsement by FBA of any views expressed or products or services offered.

Download a PDF copy of When Pigs Fly – bESTology Week 13.  Click HERE!

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