Outdoor farrowing unit has the edge over conventional system

UK - Costing about £1050 a sow place, the outdoor farrowing unit opened at Bishop Burton College farm last autumn.
calendar icon 25 August 2006
clock icon 2 minute read
It stands on a 25m x 22m concrete pad on the site of the former indoor sow housing, which was put up in 1988 and had become outdated.

So far, the new system is exceeding performance expectations.

The original target for post-weaning mortality was set at 5%, but the current figure is just 0.3%.

The unit will hold a maximum of 30 sows on a fortnightly batch-farrowing basis, but the area is large enough to accommodate up to 200 females with further expansion also planned.

Of similar design to the old-fashioned pig sty, flat-roofed wooden arks bedded with straw are used for shelter.

Individual sows also have access to a 4m x 4m loafing pen, made from steel rails welded together by farm staff to keep costs down.

Clever use is made of farrowing crates, which now function as feeding stations and contain sows for treatment, or while piglets are being handled.

Source: Farmers Weekly
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