Plastic floor in the growing unit. How to choose and what to pay attention for
Maksym Nemesh, the Ikadan Ukraine company representative
Piglets weaning is the hardest period for little animals, as they have no mum any more, and the habitual nutrition (milk) is changed into dry feed. Often in the newly formed groups happen conflicts, piglets are anxious and disturbed. It has a negative impact on animal production performance and their development. That’s why in weaning period it is important to reduce all possible stress factors. The main task for a herdsman is to create conditions for painless entering of piglets into the adulthood. First of all the attention should be paid to the livestock stall size, air temperature and microclimate. It is necessary to provide the free access to feeds and water and to keep cleanliness so that a herdsman disturbed piglets minimally. No less important is floor choice for the growing unit. Let’s focus on this.
Once more about the quality
Choosing the plastic floor, do not pay attention only to the price, but firstly make sure the raw material the bars are made from is qualitative. The aspiration to economize often backfires and the statement that the slats producer is not important is also false. In addition you need to calculate rationally: even if the investments are10–15%bigger but you are sure in product quality this money returns fast. Unjustified economy often causes great expenses.
Where do pig producer lose if the slatted floor is low-quality?
- First of all it is the emergency change of the broken bars. The cost of piglets that fell in canalization and died can be added.
- In pens for growing piglets it is necessary to combine modules with different slat percentage. If only usual bars are installed in everywhere in a pen for weaners, you can get one more problem: piglets strangle each other while trying to warm.
Floor elements combination
There are several variants, but everything depends on farmer desire.
- Classical or so-called budget variant: in rest, defecation and feeding zones the usual slatted floor is installed (50% bars) and in rest area — 10% bars.
- Improved classical, when in rest area the heating panels are added.
- So-called Japanese method of floor elements combination. Was called so because the chess-board alternation of water heating panels and 10% bars modules in piglets’ rest area was established in Japan.
Very often, farmers install complete elements to avoid feed falling through slats into the manure channel after piglets raked it away the feeder. It is wrong, because feed fallen on the floor becomes dirty (piglets walk on it mixing it with excrements) and it means it turns to source of diseases. Notice: if animals have a choice what feed to eat — the clean one from the feeder or dirty one from the floor, they will mainly prefer the first one.
One more problem of seamless floor in feeding zone is that feed under the feeder turns sour and becomes the potential place of larvae reproduction. And from this piglets can suffer. To avoid this it is necessary to install correct feeders and slatted floor under them.
A typical error in floor price calculation is to ask a supplier about a square meter price. Indeed, the price depends on many factors.
Get frizzled on low-quality floor, many Ukrainian farmers hesitate to mount the bearing supports of the plastic floor casting it in concrete as it is done in Europe, and continue making so-called ‘steps’, on which the bearing support is put, however such constructions have a serious disadvantage — they collect faeces.
- The correct floor in a growing unit is one of the main factors of comfortable piglets’ life. How to choose it? Why it is necessary to pay attention to the raw materials (fresh or secondary one) the floor is made from? What are the threats of slatted floor produced from low-quality raw materials?
- What floor slats percentage match growing piglets better?
- What determines the price of plastic slatted floor? Where can you save, and what is not worth it in any case?
You can find answers for these and other questions and also vivid illustrations of consequences of incorrectly chosen floor for growing unit, in the full version of the article in the magazine «Profitable Pig Production», № 5 (17) 2013.