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Lock-Out Feed Crate Stops Sow Competition
"Gives you the benefit of total confinement without the expense or other drawbacks," says Nathan Watkins, Watkins Mfg. Co., who's invented a new lock-out feed crate that's designed, to eliminate competition at feeding time by automatically locking each animal in its own crate.
A pair of swinging back doors on the crate are trigger-operated when the animal lifts the feeding trough cover with its nose. The doors are spring-loaded so that any animal that tries to force its way in behind the feeding animal is pushed back out. To exit, the animal simply pushes his way out the back, re-cocking the gates.
"I've got 25 sows in an outside pen and I've got 25 feeding crates so each gets his own and eats in peace. Once the animals are in their crates, you can easily give more feed to any that need it. You can even run young gilts together with sows and know that they'll get enough feed," explains Watkins.
Some of his customers set up pens around a feeding area and let each group feed separately. One farmer, for example, has 100 sows but just 25 crates. He feeds them in four separate groups.
Watkins, who's used the feeder for 2 years in his own operation, says it allows him to keep all animals at the right shape and weight, particularly the slowest, most timid feeders. They catch on quickly to operation of the feeder, he notes.
"Another advantage is that you can lock the crate up with a handle at the rear so they can't get out. Works great for vaccination and other jobs," says Watkins. "This crate lets you treat animals as though they were in confinement but you have the health benefits of letting them move around outside."
Watkins sells the crates for $110.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Watkins, Mfg., Rt. 3, Box 35, Linden, Tenn. 37096 (ph 615 589-5134).

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1986 - Volume #10, Issue #2