Archive for March 2012

by Karen Alicea |

When you receive your feeder pig it should be between 40-75 lbs in weight and around 8 to 10 weeks of age. At this point your pig has been on some sort of solid food for some time. You should also get more than one pig, having only one pig at a time will take longer for your pig to gain weight. Pigs just have the natural instinct to fight for their food if there is only one they have no need to fight for their food therefore they will not try to get the most they can at all times.

In order to get your feeder pig to continue on the path to maximum growth the best thing that I have found for them is first that giving them a ground corn tends to be better for younger pigs than say a whole or cracked corn because it is easier for them to digest, and they get more from the corn rather than it just being expelled immediately. Though this is a bit time consuming it is much better for them and you will see a difference in the overall weight gain. Next I add a soybean meal which is high in protein and will also contribute to the weight gain, protein is one of the main components in getting your pigs to excel in their growth.

Then there is the pig grain, you can use this either with or without medications in it, for the first couple of months I tend to prefer it with it because as you will well know that pigs are very susceptible to stress and having these medications in their food help to keep there immune system up and anything that may help is a plus. I take some of each of these rationed according to the number of pigs that I have making sure that at first at the 8 week level each pig gets about 1 lb of food a day. Feeding my pigs twice a day. I take this mix of the ground corn, soybean meal, and grain mix it together and then I wet it making it into a mush like mix, doing this makes for the pigs digestive system to take longer to digest it and once again adding to overall weight. At about every 2 week increase their food by 1 lb each pig and if you have any local fruit and vegetable markets you can stop and ask for any old food they will let you have it which in some cases will keep feed costs down but it will take longer to put on weight if you cut back on the other feed. You also can get day old breads or even donuts from local bakeries they will sometimes let you have them too but be careful that type of foods will give your pigs diarrhea and can contribute to much fat other wise you will have a very lean pig in about 4 months.


To get more information on cattle scales, cattle guards, or saddle pads, please visit Barn World.

To get more information on grain weight conversion, hog feeders, and hay feeders, please visit Barn World.

To get more information on bulk feed bins, livestock scales, and radiant under-floor heating, please visit Barn World.

by Dr. Kathleen Crandell |

Using round-baled hay is attractive to horse owners because this forage form is less labor-intensive, more convenient, and less expensive than feeding hay in square bales. Some of the drawbacks are excessive hay waste, overconsumption, and weight gain among horses. Several round-bale hay feeders have been designed to address some of the drawbacks, especially wastage of hay, but to date there have not been any published comparisons.

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Researchers in Minnesota conducted an experiment that would measure hay wastage from nine round-bale feeders of differing designs as well as the economics of how long it would take before the feeder would pay for itself in savings related to less wasted hay.

Twenty-five mature Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred mares and geldings with free-choice access to water and a trace-mineralized salt block were fed orchardgrass round bales in nine different commercial round-bale feeders. To test the feeders, the horses were divided into groups of five and then exposed to one of nine different round-bale feeders, or the control of no feeder, for four days. When the horses were switched to a different feeder, they received a new round bale. During the time each group was housed with the hay in the feeder, all the hay on the ground was collected daily, and at the end of four days all the hay left in the feeder was dried and weighed. Care was taken not to include manure and dirt when collecting waste hay. From the savings in hay waste over the control bales, the researchers calculated the number of months it would take to pay for each feeder, using a figure of $112/metric ton for the hay.

During the study all the feeders were found to be safe, although one of the feeders left rub marks on the sides of the horses’ faces. No feeder restricted intake and intakes were similar for all the feeders, ranging from 2% to 2.4% body weight per day. Hay waste differed between round-bale feeder designs and ranged from 5% to 19%, while the waste for the control no-feeder was 57%. There was no significant difference in hay waste among four feeders that had a circular design. In general, more restrictive feeders led to less waste, while feeders that provided more access to the hay resulted in more waste.

Hay-waste savings necessary to pay for feeders varied from less than 1 month to 19 months. This variation was due to the wide range in prices for the feeders ($147 to $3,200).

The results suggest that using round-bale feeders definitely cut the wastage of hay, but the reduction of hay loss for the differing feeders and the time to recoup the cost of the bale feeder is highly variable.


To get more information on cattle scales, cattle guards, or saddle pads, please visit Barn World.

To get more information on grain weight conversion, hog feeders, and hay feeders, please visit Barn World.

To get more information on bulk feed bins, livestock scales, and radiant under-floor heating, please visit Barn World.


by Lora Berg |

Wasting the equivalent of a feeder’s worth of feed by running it into a manure pit can definitely have a negative impact on feed efficiency.

Making sure equipment is properly maintained is just one example of the ways the person working in the barn can impact feed efficiency. Mike Tokach, Kansas State University (KSU), says focusing on specific tasks prior to loading a barn with new pigs, during the loading phase, while doing daily chores, and again when the barn is unloaded can have a positive influence on feed efficiency.

Prior to Entry

A clean barn includes clean feeders. Before a new group of pigs enters a barn, the feed bins should be emptied to ensure pigs can start on appropriate diets. “A late finishing diet has a 40% lower lysine level than a grower diet. Obviously, feed efficiency is not going to be very good if you start pigs out on a diet that is 40% below their lysine requirement,” Tokach says.

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In addition to thoroughly cleaning the facility, check and repair feed handling equipment. Look for leaking bins, broken feed lines and inoperable feeder adjustment rods. Grease the bearings on equipment between groups and take care of any previous “temporary” fixes.

“Duct tape is a short-term repair. If you don’t take the time to make the permanent repair before the next group of pigs enters the barn, you could end up with a disaster,” Tokach says. In addition, check fans, fan covers and louvers, sprinklers, heaters, curtains, insulation and waterers as part of the regular maintenance schedule between groups.

Loading the Barn

While loading the new group into the barn, do not sort pigs into tight weight categories. “Studies show a negative effect on growth performance when sorting pigs into light, medium and heavy categories because the pigs fight more compared to pigs that have not been sorted by weight range,” he explains. Care should be taken to not overstock pens or leave too many open pens. Some feeders may not work well if pigs are not placed on both sides of a fenceline feeder.

Daily Chores

Attention to detail while doing daily chores can help improve feed efficiency. Making sure pigs are healthy, implementing euthanasia plans in a timely manner and making sure pigs have water available at all times are important steps.

Tokach encourages barn managers and growers to follow correct feed budgets and take note of amino acid levels, proper energy levels and how fiber content and withdrawal of distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) can influence feed efficiency on a carcass basis. Tools are available from many feed companies to help manage feed budgets.

Managing the pigs’ environment means maintaining air quality and minimizing heat stress and cold temperatures. “Studies have shown a negative impact on feed efficiency from going above or below a pig’s critical temperature,” Tokach says. “Undergoing heat stress takes energy and results in poor feed efficiency, too. It goes back to barn maintenance. Make sure the fans and sprinkler systems are all working properly before hot weather and high critical temperatures become a problem.”

Feeder Adjustment

Proper feeder adjustment plays a crucial role in feed efficiency. Tokach recommends 50% pan coverage for most dry feeders now instead of previous recommendations for 15-25% pan coverage. He says if there is adequate to excess feeder space, opening feeders too much can increase feed disappearance and result in poorer feed efficiency, particularly after approximately 150 lb. However, if pigs are restricted on feeder space, opening feeders will increase average daily feed intake and average daily gain.

Touching on feeder design, Tokach generally recommends that feeders be at least 14 in. wide, or the shoulder width of a pig right before market, and approximately 10 in. deep. “It is important that the pig is able to eat freely without rubbing its head on the storage compartment of the feeder while eating,” he says.

While feeder dividers can make it more difficult to adjust feeders, they do allow more pigs to eat at one time because pigs are forced to stand perpendicular to the hog feeder.

Unloading the Barn

Unloading the barn is yet another area where a barn manager can have a tremendous impact on feed efficiency. Tokach says savings can be made by withdrawing feed 12 to 18 hours prior to pigs being processed at the slaughter plant. “You don’t ever want the pigs off feed for more than 24 hours before processing. Time in transit and holding at the plant should be included in the calculation of time off feed,”
he says.

Tokach also recommends pulling some pigs from all pens when marketing. “Research shows topping off the barn improves growth rate of all remaining pigs in the pen. By pulling 16% of pigs from the pen, substantial feed savings of 13 lb./pig were realized while producing the same total market weight in one research trial,” he relates.

Remember to handle pigs with care at every step in the production process. Each 0.5% increase in mortality increases closeout feed efficiency by 0.02 because less weight will be marketed.


To get more information on cattle scales, cattle guards, or saddle pads, please visit Barn World.

To get more information on grain weight conversion, hog feeders, and hay feeders, please visit Barn World.

To get more information on bulk feed bins, livestock scales, and radiant under-floor heating, please visit Barn World.

by Tanzania Scott |

Most of us would not have any idea on how are animals in large farmyards are measured. It may be animals like horses, cattle or sheep, etc., these are all measured by using modern livestock scales. They are specifically manufactured to withstand the weight and even accurately measure the weight of all the animals. It has the capability to measure weights of small ounce to even several tons. Such measurements cannot be performed by any other measurement scales like bathroom scales or the scales manufactured typically for veterinary or platform measurements. They may be designed to weigh only small weights of animals like cats and dogs. All the veterinary supporting platforms like health care specialization in animal farming compulsorily require these livestock measurement scales. They are required handy to weigh the patient animals that are into medication. They are also used to upkeep the health of zoo and circus animals. It would be astonishing to all of us, if we hear the fact that the scale used to measure cattle is also used to measure the weight of crocodiles.

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We should also make a note that the animals that are required for weighing under these measurable scales, do not stand still for the time by which we can have accurate readings on the scale. Hence, the scales are designed and manufactured in a way that we can have the average measurement and even hold the quick measurement that can provide us with accurate readings. Thus, we can rely on these scales assuming the measurements are almost equal to accurate. These scales are used most commonly in many farms that are busy selling and buying animals for profit. Such scales are required to be very durable, providing reliable measurements.

It is recommended that a livestock scale for a farm should be heavy duty and water resistant. This will help in animal farms for sure but giving a high durability against rain and even the animal waste. This is because; the scales are made stainless steel which can sense the measurement accurately. In addition to this, it is designed to be cautious with the unpredictable behavior of animals that can act weird while weighing.


To get more information on cattle scales, cattle guards, or saddle pads, please visit Barn World.

To get more information on grain weight conversion, hog feeders, and hay feeders, please visit Barn World.

To get more information on bulk feed bins, livestock scales, and radiant under-floor heating, please visit Barn World.