New Pig-Operated Feeder Eliminates Tailbiting

New from Drakar Engineering is a pig-operated feeder which, the manufacturer claims, virtually eliminates fighting and tailbiting.

"It's designed to make each pig work the equivalent of one hour a day for his food from weaning to market," explains Henning Hansen, designer of the feeder patterned after similar units which have caught on fast in Denmark and other European countries.

Each feeder holds about 50 lbs. of feed and serves 14 pigs from birth to marketing. "It takes freshly-weaned pigs less than an hour to learn how to operate the dispenser," says Hansen.

The amount of feed dispensed on each revolution of the nose-drive auger can be adjusted to allow for larger servings as pigs mature. "Pigs only dole out what they will clean up at each feeding so there's virtually no feed waste," Hansen notes. "To operate, the pig simply raises its head in a normal rooting action to turn the dispensing wheel. The action is much like a pig-operated nipple waterer. We've taken the same basic concept and applied it to a feeder."

The bottom auger (1 1/2-in. dia.) is made in two halves, with a nose-driven feed dispensing wheel at the outer end of each auger section. Thus, two pigs can feed at the same time with each side operating independently. A pair of metal agitating "fingers" inside keeps feed from bridging. "We recommend that a trough be placed underneath to catch feed as it's dispensed, rather than letting it fall to the floor," says Hansen.

The hopper is made of fiberglass and the auger and other metal parts of stainless steel.