The modern conditions in the pig houses significantly improve sow’s welfare and the amount of piglets per litter. Healthy sows get more piglets, and it is positive for production results, but at the same time can cause a few challenges. If a sow does not have enough milk for all the piglets and the competition between them is too high, it may result in higher mortality. Therefore, it is important to ensure that all piglets have equal access to milk.
One of the solutions is to have extra nursing sows, but it causes some additional production costs and requires extra work forces. To solve the problem, we have developed this automatic milk feeding system – Baby Care.
The system delivers fresh warm milk to piglets in farrowing pens all day long. When the piglets have constant access to milk, it naturally results in a higher weight at weaning. In addition, when the piglets are just one kg heavier at weaning, they have a faster growth after weaning and this gives a higher survival rate.
One Baby Care system can supply milk for approx. 700 farrowing pens with the condition that there are maximum 50 drinking cups per circuit.
The delivered milk is approx. 20°C, which is a nice temperature for small piglets. The system mixes the milk powder with hot water, and then adds cold water to get the right temperature. You can also reduce the pressure on the pump in order to regulate the milk pressure.
The Baby Care system operates succefully at several Danish farms, and we have interviewed one of the farmers in order to get the feedback.
In the last two decades, in many countries and production systems all across the globe gestation crates have disappeared to enhance sow welfare. The notion grows that also during lactation a sow must also be able to stretch her legs.
Farrowing crates, as we know them today will disappear, mainly due to consumer demand of better animal welfare, but also due to new legislation in the EU-countries, due to come in 2027. In various countries, legislation has already been accepted in that direction and it is likely new farrowing crates will have to change design and usage in the European Union by latest 2027.
Plenty of reasons therefore to look into alternatives already now.
What is the alternative to a traditional farrowing system? ACO FUNKI offers WELSAFE farrowing pen for loose nursing sows, where the sow is only confined for a few days and has better conditions compared to a traditional farrowing pen.
When the piglets are born, they are safe right after birth, while the sow is still confined. After this, they have plenty of space to move around. If you need to inspect the sow, it is possible to gather all the piglets in the piglet nest. There is a special aisle between the farrowing crate and the piglet nest, so you do not need to enter the area with the sow.
In general, the WELSAFE farrowing pen is all about making the sow comfortable and increase the survival rate of the piglets. When you choose the right flooring, the farrowing pen ensures a cooler space for the sow and a warmer space for the piglets. The sow will usually rest on the cool cast iron floor, while the piglets need warmer plastic gratings.
The piglet corner ensures a double climate, where the room temperature are in the range of 18-22°C for the sow and under the piglet cover a temperature in the range of 33 to 27° C , according to the age of the piglets. This will also make your farrowing house more energy efficient.