Pigs come to the fattening piggeries either from Atria’s own farms or from farms that specialise in pig production via Atria's pig intermediaries. At the fattening piggery, the pigs are herded in large groups into sties where they are organised according to their size and gender. Pigs of the same size and gender are placed into sties together. This enables feeding to be regulated in accordance with the group’s requirements. One sty contains 12–15 pigs, which is approximately the same number as in a litter. This is a natural group size for pigs.
The well-being of the pigs is monitored daily. The piggery is divided into sections, each with its own ventilation system. The temperature and humidity are constantly monitored. Adjustments are made as the pigs grow: pigs that have just been delivered require more warmth than those who are approaching slaughter age. Heating is provided by an adjustable underfloor heating system.
The management of the conditions in the piggery is an essential part of ensuring the well-being of the pigs. Ventilation, heating and other factors must be regulated to ensure the animals are comfortable. Throughout their lives, the pigs must have access to stimuli, such as chewable toys, newspaper, sawdust, twigs, balls and sections of piping.
Finnish pigs have considerably more sty space per head than pigs elsewhere in the world. Sties are built to allow all of the animals to eat at the same time. The floor area is also calculated to enable all of the animals to lie down on a solid floor. The saying “pigs are tidy animals” is entirely true. Sties have clearly separated areas for different purposes: the gridded section is used as a toilet, while the pigs keep the solid-floored areas clean so that they can lie down comfortably.
When the pigs have been at the piggery for approximately 85 days, they are weighed, and the pigs that have reached slaughtering weight are declared ready for slaughter. The smaller ones are allowed to fatten further. The animals that are due to depart for slaughter have the farm’s unique number tattooed onto them. This enables information about the home farm to be passed to the slaughterhouse, and the producer can receive acknowledgement and feedback on the pigs it has produced.
Logistics planners plan the loads, and the pigs are taken to the slaughterhouse in modern animal transportation vehicles. After each load, the vehicles are washed. The vehicles have clean sawdust on the floor and water is available. The vehicles are also air conditioned, and temperature monitoring equipment informs the driver of any changes in the temperature of the cargo.