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Air Jet Cuts Pig Losses
A European idea for reducing "lay on" pig losses has caught on in a modified form on a Kansas hog operation.
David Decker and his manager, Jake Peachy, who farm near Scott City, use air jets to move newly born pigs out from under sows during the days immediately after birth. Since installation of the air system, they've cut lay-on smothering losses by 90%.
"We used to lose about 1 pig per sow before the air system," Decker told FARM SHOW. The air system is triggered by actions of the sow. When she starts to lay down, an air valve is opened and tiny jet streams of air blow under the animal, driving the pigs away.
Decker and Peachy pressurize air to about 130 psi inside an old 250 gal. anhydrous ammonia tank. Air lines run from the tank to twelve air jet systems located throughout the farrowing building, which contains a total of 44 crates. The 12 air jet systems move easily from crate to crate as needed.
The system consists simply of an air valve that mounts at the end of the crate. A lever mounts out over the sows back and, as long as she remains standing, it holds the air valve closed. As the sow lays down, the valve opens and tiny streams of air pour out of pin-prick holes cut in a length of 3/4-in. dia. PVC pipe that runs alongside the crate. A regulator keeps the pressure in the lines at about 25 psi. When the sow stands up again, the air flow shuts off.
"We spent about $600 on the entire system," says Decker, noting that in addition to the air system, he and Peachy also modified the crates and installed "brooder boxes" that have helped cut losses. "We narrowed the crates up from 24 to 18 in. and raised the sides so the sow has less room standing but more room about 30 in. when laying down. The brooder boxes are made out of plywood and contain a light-bulb and a heater pad, (used only during the first 30 hrs. after birth) that keep the boxes warm and attract the pigs when the air flow starts."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, David Decker, Rt. 3, Scott City, Kan. 67871 (ph 316 872-3089).


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1986 - Volume #10, Issue #5