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Automatic Farrowing House
Several "firsts" in a new farmerdesigned farrowing set up - including a revolutionary "shake-out" limit feeder and a "flow through" manure system that eliminates under-the-floor pits -- have teamed up to reduce total labor to one minute or less per day.
"Whether you have one sow or ten, routine maintenance remains the same," says Rodney Koser, of Elbow Lake, Minn., manufacturer of the new building. He designed it with solid, all-steel floors and a sealed wooden manure pit buried outside the building to eliminate inside-the-building pit fumes, which, he says, can slow growth of baby pigs. "Pigs will weigh more at three weeks in this house than in any other setup I know," he says.
Here's a complete rundown on the 10-sow building's key features:
• Shake-down limit feeder: A 11/z ton feed bin is mounted at the end of the building. A 3-in. flex auger carries feed to feeder tubes, which reach into each crate. The feeder runs automatically at timed intervals during the day, filling the feed tubes, then turning itself off. To get feed, sows nuzzle a shaker plate that slips feed out a "teaspoon at a time" - much the same way a nipple waterer controls the flow of water.
No side aisles: Because of the mechanical feeder, crates are butted right against the side walls, eliminating 2 ft. there and at the ends. "If you don't have an automatic feeder, you're, in effect, paying for it anyway by paying to build the extra 2 ft."
• Flow-through manure system: A slatted gutter runs down either side of the building leading to a buried, wooden pit outside. Each day, the. operator takes a cleaning tool, shaped much like a hockey stick, slips it into the gutter and pushes the manure out to the 2500 gal. pit. "An 8-year-old girl can clean out both sides in less than a minute," says Koser.
He adds that he's always felt that farrowing on slatted floors over manure pits was a mistake. "Pigs lay with their noses on the slats, breathing the fumes. It causes disease and slow growth."
S Under-the-floor ventilation system: Koser designed a unique, under-the-floor ventilation system that helps keep the floor warm in the winter as it brings in fresh air. An exhaust fan sucks air in through roof vents, where it mixes with warm air, then pulls it down through 1/z in. slits that run the length of both gutters. Air then travels under the floor and out the building.
• No straw on all-steel floor. Steel, points out Koser, does not cause as many leg abrasions as concrete. And, unlike concrete, which gets rougher as time passes, only gets smoother. He uses no straw, or any other material, for bedding. "Straw is inefficient and isn't necessary in a good hog operation," he says.
The new-style farrowing house sells for $15,900, not including foundation, delivery, or the pressuretreated plywood pit, which sells for an additional $980. Houses can be ganged together, yet kept separate for disease control, with connecting service rooms.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Koser's Inc., Rodney Koser, R.R. 1, Box 65, Elbow Lake, Minn. 56531 (ph 612 677-2497).

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1980 - Volume #4, Issue #2