Most sow breeders will agree: You can make a profit in the farrowing pen. It is the unit that needs the most attention, but it is also the place where the operating results produce the biggest difference. Studies have shown that higher feed intake in the farrowing pen leads to higher milk production, higher weaning weight and better maintenance of conditions. A sow that maintains her condition will produce more mature eggs and will produce more litters in the next parity. Therefore, it is important to stimulate the sow's feed intake in the farrowing pen even on warm days.
Before and after farrowing, the total feed intake of the sow is limited, and feeding twice a day is sufficient. However, during the peak period of lactation, nutrient requirements increase sharply, and the total feed consumption can reach 9 kg/day. By dividing it into four, five or more feeds, sows can be stimulated to consume more feed.
The feed will not taste so good if it is left in the trough for too long. In addition, there is a risk of mold and deterioration at high temperatures. By feeding small portions of 100 grams each time, it keeps it fresh and delicious, and the sow is not too full, which stimulates the total feed intake. Another advantage is that it can also prevent feed waste, which is better for feed costs and the workload of emptying the bin.
If the sow eats 1.0 kg or even 0.5 kg more feed from one day to the next, she may not be able to cope with it. It is best to increase the feeding schedule in small steps each day. This makes it easier to monitor whether she has completed her part and avoid the yo-yo effect.
Especially in the summer, the sow's feed intake is under pressure. They come out of the penalties in poor conditions and are more difficult to estrus. Weaning weight is also often disappointing. By feeding at colder times of the day-taking into account Tips 1 and 2-sows can better absorb nutrients from the diet.
Implementing these techniques is easier said than done, because manual execution is time-consuming and inconvenient. This can be overcome by using systems such as Nedap Farrowing Feeding to automate delivery and feeding. An electric auger is hung under the distributor, which rations the "snacks" feed portion at a predetermined speed. Every day, the sow receives the amount of feed according to the input feeding plan. The daily ration is divided into the number of feedings required, and the number of feedings is automatically set in advance.
One option of the feeding system is a wireless activator, which allows the sow to request a new part of feed by touching the activator with her nose until the feed for that time is complete. If the sow has not been exposed to the activator for a period of time, an alert is sent to the producer.
The system provides information about each sow through a smartphone app, providing data, insight and the ability to adjust feeding plans. Therefore, the automatic feeding in the farrowing pen can better control the reproduction process, obtain better results and higher labor efficiency.
Author: Edwin Vogels, Application Specialist, José Simeone, Sales and Account Manager, Nedap
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