Monday, November 4, 2013

Day 4: Is It A Swirf?

Did somebody say research was fun?

If anybody can find that person, please send them my way!

I was at school this morning by 6 o’clock (that’s AM remember…wheeew) in order to get a couple of hours of hard work in before class. I won’t bore you with how busy today was but let’s just say that I had 60 piglets weighed before 7am and the day went downhill from there.

You see, I have 2 research trials going as of today. I have 36 nursery pigs on a preference test-the trial is basically to see how pigs react when given a choice between good corn and bad corn…and bad corn and bad corn. It’s common knowledge that given a choice they will choose the good feed, but it can be a toss-up between the not-so-good-corn diets. I also have 24 nursery pigs on a metabolism study…basically we want to see what happens biologically when pigs are fed certain levels of bad corn. This isn’t the first study looking at these issues, but research is basically about repeating experiments until there is enough data to see any sort of trend in.

Why do we care about the value of bad corn? Because sometimes it can be a choice between feeding bad corn and even worse corn, especially when you look at a season like last year’s harvest which was very drought-stricken and desperate. And nobody wants to feed anything dangerous to their animals because it could result in death.

So for the next 22 days or so I will be spending each and every day collecting urine and feces. And feeding, and switching feeder positions, and weighing pigs. And weighing pigs some more.

Do you think I can put Master Pee and Poop Collector on my resume? Would you hire somebody with that as a primary skill??

This was a formerly WHITE pig...haha
The best part about the next month? Feeding blue feed every 7 days. Don’t worry, it’s not dangerous, it’s simply feed that has been mixed with a marker (indigo) so we can study rate of passage (rate of going from the in-hole to the out-hole) and serve as an indicator of when to collect feces (start when it turns blue, stop when it turns blue again). Grossed out yet? 

The marked feed makes for some pretty entertaining pig pictures. I think I could say I have developed a new breed of pig…maybe I should call them Repto-Pigs? Or how bout Swineosaurus? Swirfs? Easter Eggs? Hmmm….

Worst part about the marked feed? It ends up everywhere. And without fail it ends up all over my fingers and arms. Wearing gloves doesn’t help. And heaven forbid you get wet where you accidentally dropped some marked feed!

I can always tell people are looking at me funny when they notice the blue stains on my fingers. Sometimes I want to say Yep, I’ve developed a new way to snort cocaine. Except it’s blue now. That would make me a really bad drug user though wouldn’t it? I’d be giving away the fact that I have an illegal habit. Maybe we should start slipping dyes into kilos of cocaine as they cross the border. It’d be like TA DA I FOUND THE SOURCE AND USERS!

OK, tangent done J

I had something else I wanted to add to this post, but I think I will save it for another day. I do have another 26 days of blogging to go!

So if you find yourself desperate for things to do, I am always accepting helpers to collect pee and poop. Pee and poop sounds so much better than urine and feces doesn’t it? I mean you can dress the words up all you want to but it doesn’t make the job any more fabulous!

If you smell a very aromatic odor coming from a blue-stained chica…just feed her chocolate. It solves everything! Here’s to hoping your Monday was uneventful! 

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