Dirty Jobs

Season 1 Episode 6

Pig Farmer

Aired Sunday 10:00 PM Aug 09, 2005 on Discovery Channel

Episode Recap

In Mike's first task at the Iowa pig farm, he takes on the duty of feeding a group of pigs standing in crud. After feeding the swines, he travels to the gilt pen where the hogs which will be held for breeding are kept. Mike shovels layers of pig droppings out and fends off bites from the pigs who see him as an unwelcome visitor.

After catering to both ends of the swine's digestive system, Mike moves on to work with the baby piglets born just one day ago. His objective here is to clip their razor sharp teeth, trim a half inch off their tails, clip their dried umbilical cord and administer two injections in their neck: one of supplemental iron and the other an antibiotic to help fight infection. Mike sees how it's done and then dives right in.

Next they enter the nursery where the weaned pigs grow to fifty or sixty pounds. Eric, the pig farmer, explains how beneath the floor there are two gravity-fed troughs that take away the pig feces from their pens. Mike's guide explains there are about two thousand gallons of "liquid manure" (pig dung mixed with water) in each trough and a plug must be released to drain it. Mike goes out to the end of the six inch pipe while Eric releases the plug. They drain both trenches and then return to the nursery to remove the larger pigs.

Eric demonstrates how to pick up the swine by grabbing them by a rear leg or tail. Mike begins removing the pigs from the nursery to an outside pen. The pigs squeal with even the slightest touch. After some time, all of the pigs are out of the nursery.

The pair next comes upon a crowded pen of pigs. Mike is instructed to push all the pigs out of the pen into a larger area. The hogs are reluctant, but after some strenuous pushing, they all exit.

Pig farmer Eric then brings out a metal "dummy" - a frame to hold a male pig while they obtain a semen sample. Mike's task is to hold the collection cup and gather the swine's semen. The boar produces a sample of nearly two hundred milliliters of semen and Mike is amazed at the entire process.

The pair move to an outside pen to find a viable female pig (sow) to artificially inseminate. Mike inserts the catheter into the female hog, following Eric's instructions the entire time. He attaches the sample of semen to the catheter and empties an entire bottle into the sow. After they finish, Mike has some words with the pig with whom he was just "intimate".

For the second part of the show, Mike travels to New York City to handle two dirty jobs. The first occupation he undertakes consists of being a Gum Buster. Joined by two seasoned pros, James and Joe, Mike travels to a Brooklyn sidewalk to begin the tedious task of gum removal.

The equipment is set up and their work area is defined. Mike explains the necessary items to remove gum include a steam machine filled with water plus a cleaning solution and a wire brush used for scraping. He discovers that the gum is dissolved quite easily by the process and clears 350 square feet. The crew then travels to Central Park to clean up some more gum-littered pavement.

Mike's second New York dirty job is with Bell Environmentally Safe Bird Control to remove pigeon droppings. He is joined by Mike and Milton who share the interesting fact that there are more than sixty ways to die from pigeon poop. After suiting up, the crew heads to the roof to spray a dissolving solution on the affected area. They sweep, scrub and scrape the pigeon poo from the building. Next is the task of laying eight hundred feet of electrical tracking around the building's perimeter. The crew travels to a new section of roofing to clean out even more bird droppings. They don respirators and begin disinfecting and shoveling the endless piles of "mud".

They finish their job on the roof and then move to an older section of the hospital where some pigeons have built a nest. It has since been abandoned and Mike's task now is to spray and disinfect the nest, then scrape it into a dustpan. After removing the nest, Mike must spray to eliminate any parasitic insects that might still remain. Mike quits for the day and heads to Central Park to inform the public about the dangers and diseases associated with pigeon droppings.