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Two Story Hog Pen Boosts Productivity
Canadian animal scientists have come up with a two-level hog pen that lets animals walk up a ramp to get to an upper sleep platform that always stays clean and dry.
One of the main advantages of the design is that it lets you put 50% more pigs in a barn without expanding facilities. Animals dung in the lower area and sleep in the upper area, which they keep neat and clean. Increased exercise also benefits the animals, especially with breeding stock because lameness is greatly reduced.
Dr. David Fraser at the government's Animal Research Center near Ottawa says that although the new split-level pen is still in testing, it's clear that it produces happier and healthier pigs. "Some buildings are cold, wet, and damp and seem to have continual problems. This pen can turn them around by providing a warmer, cleaner environment, and the variety and exercise this design provides is also beneficial," says Fraser.
The prototype double-level pen, which Fraser says can be retrofitted to existing buildings, is 8 ft. wide and 16 ft. long with a slatted floor on the bottom level. The second level is reached by a ramp made from angle iron treads and consists of a solid floor made from 2-ft. wide reinforced concrete panels. The second level covers about 60% of the area covered by the lower level, and can be easily accessed by workers standing on the bottom level. It's 36 in. above the bottom level.
"A critical factor is the angle of the ramp. It should be between 20 and 25?, otherwise you'll have trouble training pigs to use it. The ramp is hinged so you can raise it up and 'lock' pigs in the upper level when you first put them in so they get used to the idea," he notes, adding that pigs move up and down the ramp several times a day.
Although no manufacturer has yet expressed an interest in producing the design commercially, several farmers have already put the idea to use on their own farms.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, D. Fraser, Animal Research Center, Agriculture Canada, Ottawa, Canada K1A 0C6 (ph 613 993-6002).

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1986 - Volume #10, Issue #5