1988 - Volume #12, Issue #4, Page #34[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Piggy Bank Creep PenIf you're looking for a creep pen that can save piglets as well as utility costs, you might want to check out the new "Piggy Bank," an enclosed side creep pen which radiates heat from inside its top cover.
According to the manufacturer, Rig-Mor Industries of Winnipeg, Manitoba, the "Piggy Bank" uses up to 40% less electricity and operates at lower and safer temperatures than conventional creep pens containing heat lamps. The unit was recently introduced at the Western Canada Farm Progress Show in Regina.
"This is the first enclosed side creep pen to use radiant heat," says Scott Rigney, co-owner of the company. "The 1-ft. wide radiant heat strip at the top of the pen can be thermostatically controlled and operates at a maximum temperature of 212? F, which is much lower than heat lamps. Lower temperatures mean less chance of accidental fire and higher energy efficiency. The heat strip, combined with insulation in the top, bottom and sides, cuts electricity costs by at least 40% compared to heat lamp-equipped creep pens."
Rigney says radiant heat is also more even, helping to eliminate draft problems associated with other creep pen designs. As a result, more baby pigs survive at weaning time. "We think the `Piggy Bank' can save one pig every second litter - a pig that normally would be lost to pneumonia and scours. Of course, the creep pen also protects piglets both from crushing and occasional cannibalism," notes Rigney.
Made of 20 ga. galvanized steel, the "Piggy Bank" is 4 ft.long, 16 in. wide, 14 in. high and weighs 50 lbs. It's designed to fit against the wall, about 4 in. from the farrowing crate, in a standard 5 by 7 ft. farrowing pen. Each"Piggy Bank" holds 8 to 14 baby pigs from birth to three weeks old.
The hinged top cover, which can be used as an "inspection lid", is lined with fiber-glass insulation. The radiant heat strip has galvanized steel backing and is encased by a plastic sheet and a layer of fiberglass insulation. There's an inch of dead air space between the insulation and the outside of the cover to capture any lost heat.
A series of vertical plastic baffles covers the pen's side opening, holding heat inside as the pigs enter and exit via a fold-down ramp. By r folding up the ramp and sliding the door shut, you can contain the pigs for inoculation, tail docking or general inspection.
The steel floor, insulated with 1/2 in. of styrofoam, is equipped with a plastic sheet overlaid by a reversible rubber mat. You can clean the mat with a high pressure hose, then put the mat back in with the dry side up. A row of miniature bulbs, mounted on the back wall, provides soft lighting to attract the pigs and to help you inspect them.
Each creep pen retails for $349 (Canadian).
An optional thermostat, mounted on a 3 ft. high post, is available for each "Piggy Bank." Or, you can buy a `multiple pen' thermostat which lets you individually control creep pen temperatures in up to 20 different pens.
The heat unit, thermostat and temperature sensor are available as a separate pack-age to replace the heating system in your existing creep pen. Cost is about $100 depending on size of the heating unit.
For more information, contact FARM SHOW Followup, Rig-Mor Indus-tries, 156 Woodlawn Ave., Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R2M 2P6 (ph 204 253-0883).
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