Blower heaters for weaner-grower pens may offer significant advantages over conventional in-pen bar heaters, according to Tim Miller environmental specialist with ARM Buildings.
“In modern buildings, weaner-growers tend to be housed for 8-10 weeks when weighing between 8 kg and 35-40 kg, but only need heating for the first two to three weeks,” said Tim. “So, to save money, there has been a trend over a number of years to use plug-in heaters which could be moved from pen-to-pen, rather than the hard-wired heaters that couldn’t be moved, used in weaner-only rooms.”
However, it has been found that the plugs and sockets were a weak part of the system. The relatively harsh environment could cause them to malfunction or even burn out.
About 18 months ago some farmers started using blower heaters mounted on the wall outside the pens with great success. This meant there was no need for cables in the room since the heaters used plugs in the passageway. Not only did this avoid the potential electrical problems, they could be moved from room-to-room with greater ease than the heaters in the pen.
“I was initially wary of heating the whole room, rather than using spot-heating, but the results are good and monitoring has shown that the running costs at 50p per pig are very similar to the conventional heaters -which work out at 40p per pig – but without the problems,” said Tim Miller.