Producers can request a copy of the 1.0 version of Walking the Pens from their Pfizer Animal Health representative. A 2.0 version of the training tool (scheduled to be released in mid-2010) will have the ability to assign lessons and quizzes related to key topics and track the knowledge of contract growers on these key topics over time, according to Sarah Probst Miller, DVM, Carthage (IL) Veterinary Service, Ltd.

Walking the Pens comes on a CD-ROM. The program is installed on your computer so that it can be run from the desktop; the CD is only needed for the initial time to install the program, according to Ken Haas of the Carthage (IL) Veterinary Service, Ltd.

An online version of the 1.0 version of Walking the Pens will be available later this year, Probst Miller notes.

To access the current training tool, go to www.individualpigcare.com/WTPGame. This URL takes you to the visual simulator tool. The simulation puts players in a barn situation where they are asked to make decisions and shows them how their actions regarding pig care will affect the entire virtual barn.

Producers and employees will make decisions based on 24 virtual pigs as they walk the simulated pens. Those decisions will be projected across a 2,400-pig population to determine their impact on barn profitability.

National Hog Farmer published a Walk the Pens poster, which illustrates those procedures, in the Oct. 15, 2006 Blueprint on Early Finishing Management. The poster was sponsored by Pfizer Animal Health.