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Author Topic: Best Farrowing arks?  (Read 621 times)

Jefner87

  • Joined Sep 2018
Best Farrowing arks?
« on: September 05, 2018, 05:15:07 pm »
 :pig: New to the forum and looking for a bit of advice from anyone who has bred pigs on a small scale.
I’ve been fattening pigs for a couple of years now but have a bit of a soft spot for a couple of the gilts we have this time round so have decided to keep them and try to breed from them. I have everything set up in terms of feeding and even AI but I’m a bit overwhelmed by the options when it comes to farrowing. The place we source our weaners from is a more intensive unit so he’s all for indoors and farrowing crates which is prefer to avoid.
I like the idea of trying to keep them outdoors, even if it’s only weather dependant or for part of the year. We have plenty of options of land to fence off and use but the problem I’m having is deciding on the the best arks in terms of animal health/welfare and cost/delivery to Scotland.
 There will be three gilts in total so I’m trying to weigh up the pros and cons of farrowing them in stables which are unused at the moment then turning them out into the outdoor field once the piglets are big enough  or getting farrowing arks and keeping them outside the whole time.
If I do the latter which style of ark is best for the girls and their young? And where is best to source them on a relatively low budget?
Any help or advice for a newbie pig breeder would be much appreciated.

« Last Edit: September 06, 2018, 11:49:11 am by Dan »
Voss Electric Fence

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Best Farrowing arks?
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2018, 10:10:33 pm »
Hello  :wave:


Firstly, if you bought your pigs as fatteners are they suitable for breeding? Have they got at least 12 evenly spaced teats, better still fourteen. And no dummies. To be fair to the breeder he sold you pigs for fattening not for breeding, which would have been more expensive.


Secondly, have you got an outlet for all those potential weaners or pork?


Thirdly, have you worked out the cost of keeping a sow, feeding a sow and piglets etc. and are you happy you can break even for a start?


I don't want to put you off but if you don't have an outlet think very seriously about breeding pigs. I'm not saying it isn't possible to make money out of pigs but it can be hard and many people get out of their depth very quickly.


In terms of arks buy the best you can afford. Get proper farrowing arks with rails. Personally, I would go with your empty stables for now.




Rupert the bear

  • Joined Jun 2015
Re: Best Farrowing arks?
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2018, 11:00:59 pm »
Harmony has it in one

Jefner87

  • Joined Sep 2018
Re: Best Farrowing arks?
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2018, 08:16:34 pm »
Thanks for your reply Harmony. Much appreciated:)
 The two that we’ve picked out as definites for the breeding all fit the criteria that you’ve said so from that point of view we’re OK (the third is only a maybe at the moment so I haven’t actually checked her teats yet).
I have a guaranteed outlet for any offspring that we manage to get so again should be good from that point of view too.
 As long as the breeding goes at least semi to plan and isn’t a complete disaster (hence all the farrowing questions to try and give the ladies the best possible chance) then we should make a small profit.
From fattening pigs recently I do understand that any profit is pretty minimal anyway so without sounding too soft I’m more doing this as a wee sideline because I’ve got a soft spot for these two and fancied having a go at making keeping them financially viable.
If I use the stables, which for the first time round would certainly reduce costs, I understand I need an area with a heat source for the piglets that the mother can’t get to but, and please forgive me if this is a silly question, do I need to install guard rails around the edge of the stable in addition to this? Am I right in saying the rails in the arks are to stop Mum lying on her babies? And if so will they be safe enough because they’ll have a bit more space and the lure of a heat lamp to get them into the corner?
Sorry for bombarding you with questions that may sound daft but I’d rather be as prepared as possible.

pharnorth

  • Joined Nov 2013
  • Cambridgeshire
Re: Best Farrowing arks?
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2018, 05:39:22 pm »
Can't say I am particularly expert but we purpose built a farrowing pen with bars across one core er and a heat lamp above. The piglets found the heat lamp very quickly, and very quickly learn to run to it when the sow grunts before lying down. Fascinating to watch.

Jefner87

  • Joined Sep 2018
Re: Best Farrowing arks?
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2018, 05:50:37 pm »
Thanks Pharnorth  :)
I think I might just try the area in the corner approach to start with too then. I suppose I can always have poles or something on standby for the other sides if it looks like I’ll need them.

bryntevans01

  • Joined Aug 2017
Re: Best Farrowing arks?
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2018, 10:44:54 pm »
Farrowing tends to be a preference for the breeder. Some like farrowing crates indoors, some have bars indoors, some don’t have bars indoors and I know some who leave them to it in large arks with a creep feed. Some will say it’s down to the individual mothering qualities of the gilt. Personally for your first time your probably going to be there so inside with heat lamps and a bar would be a good option.
The arks is a differnat story all together!! There expendive! A farrowing ark will set you back £650 plus delivery upwards. I have self built wooden ‘A’ frame arks because I believe they are better insulated than tin rooves although I believe the pig ark company sell there farrowing arks for £650 plus £150 for insulation!!! You will need 1 ark for the gilt and littler and another for your other gilts, you’ll also need another ark to wean your litter into somewhere else. That’s why I build them myself :-D

DavidandCollette

  • Joined Dec 2012
Re: Best Farrowing arks?
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2018, 09:44:20 am »
Farrowing tends to be a preference for the breeder. Some like farrowing crates indoors, some have bars indoors, some don’t have bars indoors and I know some who leave them to it in large arks with a creep feed. Some will say it’s down to the individual mothering qualities of the gilt. Personally for your first time your probably going to be there so inside with heat lamps and a bar would be a good option.
The arks is a differnat story all together!! There expendive! A farrowing ark will set you back £650 plus delivery upwards. I have self built wooden ‘A’ frame arks because I believe they are better insulated than tin rooves although I believe the pig ark company sell there farrowing arks for £650 plus £150 for insulation!!! You will need 1 ark for the gilt and littler and another for your other gilts, you’ll also need another ark to wean your litter into somewhere else. That’s why I build them myself :-D
Any chance of a picture of your handiwork please?

greenbeast

  • Joined Jul 2014
Re: Best Farrowing arks?
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2018, 06:03:23 pm »
'standard' Arks built to the same standard as 'animal arks' can be done for about £200

 

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