Pig production farms breed pigs for fattening piggeries. On these farms, sows are divided into small groups and each group of sows is inseminated within a few days. The sows are pregnant for three months, three weeks and three days, after which they farrow. They go through the gestation period at their own rhythm in a sheltered area. They have space to move freely.
The act of sows giving birth is referred to as farrowing. One litter usually contains 10–12 piglets. The days during which a group is farrowing are the busiest working days at the piggery as the sows are constantly monitored and, if necessary, assisted when farrowing. The sows take care of their piglets and suckle them for four weeks. The milk available during this period is the most important source of nutrition for the piglets, but they are also gradually introduced to animal feed to enable their digestive systems to become used to such nourishment before weaning. The piglets have their own areas in the sow's sty. The piglets' area is heated using heat lamps because the animals need a lot of warmth during the first phase of their lives. The sties have underfloor heating. The sow has restricted room for manoeuvre during the suckling period to ensure that she does not accidentally harm the piglets.
Boars are castrated with the aid of painkillers when less than one week old to prevent them from developing boar taint at a later stage. Boar taint ruins the flavour of cooked meat and no other method has yet been discovered to prevent it. Atria is constantly carrying out research in partnership with farms in the attempt to discover a different method for identifying and preventing boar taint.