Yorkshire pig farmer, Andy Brown, has invested £19,000 in a ready-to-use nursery cabin after seeing a similar unit in operation on one of Rattlerow Farms’ 600-sow commercial units where it is reported to be saving, on average, the life of half a pig a litter.
“Feed cost aside, I only have to rear an extra 12 piglets per batch to cover the finance on the new nursery,” said Mr Brown of A & M Farms, near Hull, speaking after taking delivery of the unit which is manufactured by Suffolk-based, Quality Equipment.
The container-style nurseries come in various sizes and configurations, according to individual farm requirements. Mr Brown, who runs a 600-sow herd, batch farrowing around 70 sows every three weeks, chose a single-room cabin divided into three separate pens, each holding up to 28 pigs. The nursery was designed specifically to fit his system, allowing for one surplus pig per sow, with some extra capacity built in.
In addition to having its own heating, ventilation and slurry system, the unit is equipped with a warm-water Transition feeder which mixes gruel for the piglets on a little-and-often basis mimicking the sow’s own feeding pattern.
“With today’s highly-prolific sows many producers have difficulty in rearing all the pigs they produce,” said QE director, Mark Harding. “We developed the nursery specifically to solve this problem.”