Monday, August 28, 2017

farrowing

As our markets led us into the need for year around production of pigs, we knew we needed a central farrowing house to supplement or replace our pasture production practice which restricted us to fall and spring production only.  And we needed to solve the problem of keeping the mother sow comfortable with her piglets in the heat of summer if we were going to farrow in summer.  Farrowing in crates, which strictly control the movement of the sow, are distasteful to us as they frustrate natural behavior.  We knew we would use strawed pens in our new building.

We decided on a geothermal application.  See the pictures for the below floor layout of the water pipes.  This is a very simple version which cycles water through deep underground pipes, cooling it to sixty degrees in summer.  This tempered water then is pumped through the underfloor pipes shown which cools a portion of the floor to around seventy degrees, well within a pig's comfort zone.



We are happy with the results. So are the mama sows.  If they are comfortable, they will lie quietly for most of the day and their piglets thrive.  Installing the floor and underground work was quite an expense, but it is important to us to try to solve production problems by working with the animals instead of exerting excessive control over them.  

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