1992 - Volume #16, Issue #2, Page #11[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Straw Flow System Beds Hog PensScottish ag engineers have come up with a new hog building design that makes it easy to bed down hogs with straw.
At least one large rural builder in Britain is already putting up "Straw Flow" confinement buildings and Canadian hog producers and builders have also been looking closely at the idea.
Essentially, the idea consists of a sloped lying area with "self-help" straw hoppers at the upper end where hogs can pull out their own straw bedding. Straw then moves gradually down the slope by gravity over a period of days to a scraper alley where it can be easily removed. There's no buildup of manure in the pens and no need to enter the pens either to spread more straw or to scrape it out.
British farmers are particularly interested in the new idea because of new animal welfare regulations that will force them to provide bedding in pens whether they want to or not. But Dale Arey of the Scottish Ag Engineering Institute in Aberdeen, Scotland, told FARM SHOW there are many benefits to bedding with straw even if animal welfarists don't pass laws requiring it.
"Pulling straw out of the hoppers gives hogs something to do, reducing agression and lowering stress. It also gives the pig a feeling of well being. As a bedding it prevents bruises and stiffness and keeps pigs warm," says Arey. "The problem with using straw is that it's expensive to handle, spread and remove, and it builds up quickly resulting in dirty pens if not removed regularly. This new system eliminates those problems."
A 30-ft. sq. pen with 15 to 20 hogs in it will go through about one sq. bale of straw a week, according to Arey. The floor has a 1:16 slope. The amount of straw dispensed from the hopper can be controlled by opening or closing the gate. In winter you might want to let more straw out. In summer, less.
For more information, contact FARM SHOW Followup, Dr. J.M. Bruce, SAC, Centre for Rural Building, Craibstone, Bucksburn, Aberdeen AB2 9TR Scot-land (ph 0224 713622).
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