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     Farrowing buildings 

    The Future Farm pig unit have two farrowing buildings, one building contains Conventional crates and the other contains Nooyen crates.

    The term farrowing in the pig world means giving birth. The sows are in the crates from one week before farrowing until weaning at 26 days, the crates reduce the risk of the sow crushing her piglets as she lays down as a piglet weight ranges from 0.5 - 2.5 kg at birth, whereas a sow ranges from 200 - 300 kg.

    In the building with the Conventional crates:

    • The sow has a hessian sack to nest with, and a rope and chew-toy to play with after farrowing. Piglets have a rope and chain to play with as well.
    • The heat lamp behind the sow stops the piglets getting chilled. There is also a heat pad in the crate for piglets to lie on.
    • The slatted floor in the pens keep them hygienic.
    • Sows are fed twice per day on an increasing scale, from 4 kg/d at farrowing to 16 kg/d by day 14.
    • Sows can eat over 300 kg of feed during lactation.
    • Piglets have a supplementary milk bowl that they can use if they don't have a teat to suckle, or need more milk. They have a creep bowl with solid feed from 2 weeks old.
    • We can estimate the amount of supplementary milk and creep each piglet consumes by recording their electronic ID tag each time they visit the feeders.
    • Piglets weight, on average, 8.5 kg at weaning.

    In the building with the Nooyen crates:

    • As the sow sits or stands up, her body pushes on the finger bars above her.
    • This causes the sow's part of the pen to raise up.
    • Piglets can't get underneath the sow while she is stood up, so there is even less risk of crushing and the sow is able to get away from the piglets by sitting up.

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