Sow farrowing crates is one key equipment for the modern piggery farms,which has very important influence on your sow farrowing production, there is still no better sow farrowing crates alternatives at moment, so the sow farrowing crates deserves you pay more time to study it
A farrowing crates is a single pig pen, a place for sows to farrow and suckle their piglets. The middle part of the farrowing pen is the sow limit frame, which is used for sows to give birth and suckling piglets.
The two sides are the places where the piglets eat, drink, heat and move. The sow limit frame is installed on the slatted floor laid on the manure ditch, which is to remove fecal-phase contaminants easily.
The sow farrowing crates, also known as the sow farrowing crates or breeding crate, is mainly composed of sow limit crate, piglet protection pen, piglet incubator, metal and plastic slat floor, sow feeding trough and piglet feeding trough, sow drinker and Piglet drinkers, etc.
There are many different types of sow farrowing crates, the farrowing crates benefits are different as while . Some scholars say they prefer sow farrowing crates design with piglet isolation rails (pictured below) to prevent the guard rails from covering the udder.
He thinks: “The floating bottom of the sow farrowing crates can be moved to avoid other complete coverage of the upper nipple, but from farm experience, ease of handling is important because staff don’t always adjust the fence to the sow’s nipple. Nipple Height”.
As shown below, the sow farrowing crates design with piglet isolation guardrails and suspended guardrails. Floating guardrails are very effective systems to prevent piglets from being crushed by the sow. The purpose of the piglet isolation fence is to assist the piglets to have more effective access to the sow teats.
On the contrary, some scholars like the bottom guardrail (Figure below) type sow farrowing crates. In his opinion, the vertical piglet isolation guardrail can occupy the space of one piglet. Considering the size of the current litter, the use of vertical guardrails should be avoided as much as possible.
The sow must be prevented from suddenly lying on the piglet. In modern feeding systems, where the goal is to eat multiple times a day during lactation to increase feed intake, this guardrail is essential. Without it, the risk of the sow lying on the piglets increases exponentially. ”
As shown in the picture below, the adjustable guardrail is more comfortable for the sow as it provides more space for the sow to lie down and suckle. Nonetheless, proper adjustment is crucial so that it does not cover an entire row of nipples.
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The sow farrowing cage is specially designed to prevent the sow from pressing on the piglets and improve the survival rate of the piglets. In order to achieve the desired effect,people have been researching, designing and testing different types and materials of the farrowing cages for many years. But no matter what type design and material, the farrowing cage must meet the following requires:
1. Suitable for farrowing sows and suckling piglets: Mother pigs and piglets need different temperatures. The temperature required for newborn piglets is higher, between 29 and 32 °C, while the suitable temperature for mother pigs is 15 to 18 °C. Therefore, the mother and piglets need to be supplied the suitable temperature separately.
2. To protect the piglets, this is the original intention of the farrowing cages design. The farrowing pen should have a piglet guard “to reduce the chance of the sow crushing the piglet” and should provide the piglet with a comfortable, warm play and rest area separate from the sow.
3. The sanitary conditions are good. The farrowing pen should be easy to clean and disinfect, avoiding the contact of mother and piglets with manure and urine. The roughness of the ground should be moderate to reduce the incidence of foot and foot disease.
At present, the commonly used pig birthing pen structure is rectangular shape design, the length of the birthing pen is 200cm-240cm, the width is 150cm-195cm, and the height of the pen is 50-60cm
The width of the sow cage is 50cm~90cm, the height is 95cm~105cm, and there are piglet protection frames on both sides to prevent the sow from pressing the piglet suddenly from standing to lying down.The distance between the fences of the piglet cage is more than 20cm, and the piglets can drill through it.
The piglet activity area width usually is 90-130 cm, distributed on both sides of the sow cage pen, which can be divided equally or unequally. The insulation heating plate, insulation cover and rubber mat are usually 40-60 cm wide and 80 -120cm long,it is the rest area for new born piglets
The flooring of the sow farrowing crate is usually the full-leakage slat floors. The manure of the sow and piglets is discharged into the manure ditch through the slat floors, which is just above of the manure ditch, and the manure in the ditch can be automatically cleaned with machinery or pipes to ensure a good production environment on the pig farrowing pen .
The flooring is divided into sow area and piglet area according to the area divisions. The sow farrowing cage area usually adopts metal slat floors, cast iron slat floor or tri-bar slat floor, which is conducive to cooling the sow during the lactation period, and can also ensure the strength and durable use of the slat floor;
Plastic slat floor is usually used in piglet area, pig plastic slats has good thermal stability, reducing the impact of floor temperature difference on newborn piglets, effectively reducing the occurrence of diarrhea and other diseases
Whether it is the slat floor in the sow area or piglet area, it is fixed above the manure channel and can be supported by glass fiber reinforced support beams or supporting feet. Hanging on the support beam, it is convenient for the installing and disassemble of the pig slat floors
Farrowing crate heat pads is set in the piglet area, and can also be replaced by a heating lamp, which is the source of heating and heat preservation for newborn piglets
There are many different types farrowing crate heat pads, stainless steel heating pads and compound plastic heating pads are widely used, heat coils are built inside the pad with insulation sealing, temperature controller can set the heating temperature, the heating control can be individual or center controlled, reduce the stuff working intensity and save electricity power
Rubber mat can used both in the sow area and piglet area in the farrowing crates, rubber mat in the sow area can protect the sow’s trotters and nipples, improve the comfort when the sow is laying down; rubber mat in the piglet area can keep a better warming nest environment,reduce the heat loos through the slat floors, it usually works with heating lamps and cover
The sow farrowing pen has been used since the 1940s. At present, it has become the most commonly used sow farrowing system in the world. The use of the farrowing pen can reduce the mortality of suckling piglets by about 1/3, which is a necessary core equipment for the medium and large-scale pig farms
The key benefits of the sow farrowing pen is: it is beneficial for the sow to feed regularly and quantitatively, reduce feed waste, control the sow’s body condition, facilitate the sow lactation and piglet lactation, ensure that the piglets have a safe and comfortable movement space, and avoid the sow’s trampling and crushing injuries or piglets death, farrowing crates can also reduce the labor intensity.
The pros is very clear with previous question,while there is cons for the farrowing crates too
1. Restricted sow movement space
The purpose of setting limit bars in sow farrowing pen is to prevent the sow from crushing the piglets when lying down and to ensure that the sow nipple is fully exposed during lactation to facilitate the piglet to suckle, but this setting restricts the movement of the sow, and the sow in the confinement pen is only can perform activities in monotonous ways such as lying down and standing, with limited activity space
2. High pig farrowing crates price
At the same time, the cost of the sow farrowing crates is relatively high, which also increases the investment in equipment and facilities, especially for small family farms, which is a relatively large expenditure
The pregnant sow usually show be transferred to farrowing crates one week before the sows give birthing, so you have to record the the individual sows pregnant period and observe the sows conditions in the gestation house
After sows giving birthing, the mother pigs usually will milk the piglets for four weeks, when piglets can take feeds by themselves,the sow can be transferred back to the gestation crates or pig stalls, and piglets can be transferred to the nursery pen, so overall the sow will stay in the farrowing crates for 5 weeks, when you calculate how many farrowing crates required for your farm, you can take out one extra week for the cleaning and disinfecting works too