The UK requirements for pig farming and animal welfare are some of the highest in the world. Though this can make it quite challenging for the modern UK pig farmer, there are more and more makers of optimal housing and equipment to help. One area of ongoing concern and challenge is feeding and watering the pigs. At every stage of life they require different amounts or types of feed. The equipment has to be kept at the utmost of cleanliness and the basic guidelines of care must be met. Both food and water have similar requirements:
- Pigs have to fed at least once daily
- When housed together they must be fed at the same time if they are not fed continuously and if they are not fed automatically by a system that feeds individuals
- Safe feed must be used and there is a long list of rules that apply to food safety
- Equipment must be cleaned and inspected, with issues addressed immediately, on a daily basis, and this includes feed hoppers or equipment as well as watering systems
- Formal trough space is required for rationed feed and is based on a pig’s weight
All of these rules can make it quite difficult for the farmer considering any upgrades or expansion in equipment and housing. Yet, with a simple checklist of “things to look for” it can streamline your decision making.
Dry feeding systems – A blend of grains and other ingredients offer pigs of different stages optimal nutrition. Used for nursery, growing and finishing it requires a storage area dependent on gravity and adjustable feed plates to control flow/amounts. Variable pan sizes and depths, agitation plates and sizing or spacing according to the largest pig are all important elements.
Liquid feeding systems – Blending liquid with around 20-30% dry ingredients, this offers farmers a simple way to ensure optimal nutrition. Optimal control of the system and a capability of controlling feed stocks (to eliminate spoiling) are important. This style will have to be easily incorporated into troughs of varied sizes and heights.
Wet-Dry feeding systems – Meant to deliver food and water in a single setting, it will have larger and deeper feed pans with a nipple waterer integrated into the design. Adjustable feed flows are essential as are adjustable shelf heights to accommodate a range of ages or improved use over the course of a pig’s lifecycle. Tube feeders are often part of this category as are rounded feeders.
Breeding herds may also need lactation feeders and gestation feeding systems, and it is important to find a supplier that can meet every need, such as IDS, the leading provider of pig housing and equipment in the UK.