A Piece of Eden

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A Piece of Eden

Cal Poly Swine Unit sits atop a hill at the end of Sports Complex road on fifteen acres of Cal Poly land that stretches along the railroad tracks, past the baseball and softball diamonds, the intramural soccer field for miles, and the rodeo arena where cowboys and cowgirls on horseback lasso and barrel race. The grounds of the swine unit looks like a piece of Eden. Fruit trees grow on a patch of cool green grass, and a pond that attracts birds and vegetation and is used for irrigation and sanitation purposes. The pond is there to recycle the runoff water and house the waste created by the pigs. Ducks love the reservoir because of the manure, plants and bugs it attracts. The pig barns surround this little oasis in a semicircle and house between twenty and thirty sows (females) and three boars (males). The barns look ancient on the outside, but inside they boast state of the art technology and equipment for feeding and caring for the swine. This technology is used by students who are involved in the department of Animal Science to take care of the pigs.

The Cal Poly Swine Unit was created to provide a “hands on, learn by doing” way of studying and raising pigs for the purposes of breeding, showing, and for meat sales. Within this program, students are taught management skills in the healthcare,

reproduction, nutrition, and marketing of pigs. The students are trained to manage the

farm from start to finish so they can prepare for a career in the livestock industry. Non-animal science students are welcomed to get involved with the swine department by raising a pig for show and/or meat sales as an extra source of income. Students in the swine department of animal science are required to take two introductory courses. The first is ASCI 222: systems of swine production. This class teaches students about the husbandry systems, management skills, feeding methods, evaluation of brood stock and progeny (breeding), and health management. The second is ASCI 350: applied nutrition. This course covers meat production, consumption patterns of the pigs, and feeding management in the commercial raising of swine. These specialized courses have given Cal Poly the reputation of having one of the best animal science departments in the nation.

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