This is the third blog about the Bogaert family from Belgium, who have now completed the finishing touches to their brand-new farrowing house in Ledegem. They tested 4 Pro Dromi® pens up until last year, and have since built housing with no fewer than 104 of these farrowing pens. This is an unusual project, and we’d like to tell you all about it. In this blog, we look at feed distribution, among other things. We’ll hear from Ben Gussinklo, Western Europe account manager at NEDAP. Read more about the challenges and unusual aspects encountered by the family during this special project, and don’t forget to have a look at the photos on the website!
If you’re interested in the new farrowing pens, read on!
“The Bogaert family are out and out professionals, innovators at the forefront of their sector,” according to Ben Gussinklo, Western Europe account manager at NEDAP, a specialist in automating livestock housing processes. Gussinklo talks enthusiastically about the automatic feeding stations that are now operational at Bogaert. “A sow can enter a feeding station at any time of the day. Depending on her condition, the feed she receives is automatically calculated via the ID number in her ear. What makes Bogaert so special is that the farrowing pens are equipped with this feeding system. Sows are fed using this system, and the pig farmer can determine and keep track of how much feed each animal receives individually via a wireless iPad.”
Farrowing pens with automatic feeding system
Most pig farmers with an automatic feeding system offer feed two or three times a day. At Bogaert, sows receive smaller portions up to six times a day. The food is supplied at a rate of up to around 150 g per minute, so 10 minutes to dispense 1.5 kg. Gussinklo says this that this results in a number of benefits. “The sow’s intake of both feed and water improves. Feed is also better digested, raising milk yields for the piglets. All in all, it keeps the sows in tiptop condition.”
Automatic trough sensor
The automatic sensor in the trough, which the sow can press with her nose, is another special detail. “This allows the sow to decide herself when the feed is given, and avoids wasting feed. The quality of the feed also improves, because it’s not left to go off in the trough. The quantity a sow eats can be monitored by a sensor. If she’s not eating enough it’s a sign that the animal is probably sick or not feeling well. Thanks to notifications on the iPad and feed data at your fingertips, you can immediately spring into action when necessary.”
Nanny on the aisle
Besides the feeding stations, the installation of Pro Dromi® equipment in the housing is also revolutionary. Bogaert decided to place the Nanny, the safe warm house for piglets, next to the aisle. This leads to all kinds of benefits: less chance of introducing disease, easy to sort on the path, and even split suckling is easier. After four weeks, the piglets are still all happily lying at the front of the piglet nest. Nor surprising, since the temperature in the nest is 30 to 35 ºC, while the sow’s pen is a lot cooler and fresher.
No electricity The Nanny is heated by a circuit of hot-water pipes, so no heat lamps are needed in the pig housing . Once the temperature is set, the floors in the piglet nests are uniformly warm. The pig farmer simply has to pass by to make sure everything is nice and warm. Once the system is up and running, Vereijken always does an extra round with an IR camera to make sure that the piglets are warm.
PS: Have we whet your curiosity about the Bogaert family’s farrowing pens?
A small report about this farrowing pen was recently shown on Plattelands TV in Belgium. You can watch the video here!