Lessons learned from managing electronic sow feeders and collecting weights of gestating sows housed on a large commercial farm
Lori L. Thomas; Marcio A. Gonçalves, DVM, PhD; Carine M. Vier, DVM; Robert D. Goodband, PhD; Mike D. Tokach, PhD; Steve S. Dritz, DVM, PhD; Jason C. Woodworth, PhD; Joel M. DeRouchey, PhD
Complete article is available online.
PDF version is available online.
An observational study was conducted on a commercial 5600-sow farm using electronic sow feeders (ESF) to collect daily feed intake and scales to obtain sow body weights. The challenges that emerged during this study and proposed solutions may be useful for future research projects in commercial farms with ESF feeding systems. A total feed delivery per day was reported for females, regardless of how many times they may have entered the feeding station. It would be valuable to obtain records for individual feeding events to determine how many times females entered the feeding stations and if it was a feeding or non-feeding event. In this system, there was wide variation in daily sow weights because they entered the feeding station several times a day. Discrepancies in individual body weight were found to be attributed to the speed a sow moved across the scale, long scale length, and interference with the scale antenna. Possible solutions include adding panels before and after the scale, reducing scale length, and careful placement of the antenna. Nevertheless, combining the feeding of gestating sows via ESF with daily weight collection has the potential to generate valuable data sets.
Keywords: body weight, data collection, electronic sow feeders, sow
Cite as: Thomas L, Gonçalves M, Vier C, et al. Lessons learned from managing electronic sow feeders and collecting weights of gestating sows housed on a large commercial farm. J Swine Health Prod 2018;26(5):270-275.
Search the AASV web site for pages with similar keywords.