Comfortable and compliant with the sanitary requirements of the trough for pigs is an important element of the pigsty. It can resemble a regular bath or be built on the principle of a bunker, used to feed one or several piglets. It is not difficult to get it in the trade network, but for the owner of a small farmstead it is expensive and unprofitable. In the article we will describe how to make the feeder with your own hands, using the materials at hand.
Practical pig feeding equipment
If you decide to breed pigs for meat, then in addition to the construction and equipment of the pigsty, you will have to equip feeders and drinkers. They should be suitable for feeding piglets of different age groups who can freely get to feed or liquid cereals. Animals should be given the opportunity to eat all the food, not getting into the trough with their feet, as well as not throwing it around the walking area.
In large pig farms, stationary and mobile bunker-type feeders manufactured in an industrial way are most often used. They fully meet the requirements and reduce labor costs due to the fact that dry feed in bunkers fall asleep once every two or three days, and fattening piglets have the opportunity to get food at any time.
In a small household, purchasing industrial products is expensive, and most farmers prefer to make their own feeders and drinkers for pigs.
For these purposes, you can use absolutely any construction materials (wood, metal, plastic) that do not emit harmful substances that will withstand regular cleaning and rinsing with a large amount of liquid.
Sanitary requirements for feeders and drinkers
Before proceeding to planning the manufacture of feeders for piglets and adult animals, the farmer needs to pay special attention to the sanitary requirements for these elements of the pigsty. In order not to harm the health of pets, it is necessary to observe quite reasonable and simple conditions.
First of all, the feeder must be installed in an accessible place, allowing it to be filled with feed in time, cleaned and washed. It must be securely fastened, not to overturn and not to collapse under the blows of a hungry animal.
The trough should be protected as much as possible from the entry of waste products of pigs, which may contain eggs and larvae of various helminths.
Separate containers are required in the pen for dry and liquid feed, as well as for clean drinking water.
The leaking trough should be sent for repair immediately or disposed of to reduce the risk of loss of nutrients, pollution of the walking area and increase in the total humidity in the pigsty.
The height of the sides of the feeder should correspond to the age of the fattened piglets, and the convenient inclination of the front wall should ensure complete feeding of the feed.
Recommended trough sizes for pigs
Piglet at birth has a weight of about 1 kg, but with proper feeding it reaches a weight of 100-110 kg by half a year. An adult sow or boar can weigh up to 250-300 kg, having very large dimensions. For this reason, it is considered improper to use troughs or bunker feeders of the same size for feeding animals of different ages.
Due to the fact that the size of the head and snout of pigs of different ages significantly differs in size, it is best to make a trough with the length of the working part for one individual:
- for dairy pigs - 15 cm;
- young animals weaned from the sow on supplement (1-3 months) - 15-20 cm;
- fattening piglets up to 6 months - 20-25 cm;
- pigs 7-10 months - 25-35 cm;
- pregnant sow - 35-40 cm;
- wild boar - 40-50 cm.
Of great importance is the height of the front (working) side of the trough, which, when feeding dairy pigs, should not be above 10 cm. Otherwise, little pigs simply cannot reach food.
Also it is not recommended for adult pigs to make working boards of the trough too high. The optimum height is 15-25 cm, so you can put in the container the right amount of dry feed or liquid cereals.
Types of designs for feeding pigs
When planning to start building your own pig feeders, be sure to familiarize yourself with the existing types of such equipment, and select the model that is most suitable for your farm.
In industrial and amateur pig breeding, it is customary to set feeders permanently in the free-range area or in the piglet pen. They may have wheels for moving within the pig farm, as well as stops for installation in designated areas.
Feeders have different sizes and can be designed for the simultaneous feeding of one, two, three or more pigs, for which they are equipped with special partitions.
Bunker feeders we mentioned above. They are very convenient, but only when feeding pigs with dry fodder, which is poured into a bulk bunker once every 2-3 days and served in a special pan as the animals eat it.
Read more about this in the article "Types of pig feeders."
The owner of a small farm that grows pigs for himself does not make sense to acquire or build a complex bunker structure, and it is better to make a trough of improvised materials yourself.
The variety of materials for the construction of feeders
Various sources suggest the use of various materials in the construction of pig feeders. These can be damaged tires, gas cylinders, metal barrels and plastic containers, trimming of pipes (metal, plastic and cement-asbestos), and much more.
But the most popular among the owners of small private farms still enjoy the trough of wood. They are made according to previously prepared drawings, taking into account the age characteristics of the pigs contained.
Such feeders have a relatively small weight, they are easy to move, clean and launder from dirt.
It is best to use hardwood for the manufacture of such a trough, although it is not forbidden to use coniferous boards.
Boards that are at least 40 mm thick must be thoroughly dried. Subsequently, the wood wetting from the porridge and high humidity will swell, plugging the existing cracks and make the trough airtight.
We make a trough of wood
Immediately decide for the simultaneous feeding of how many pigs the feeder will be calculated, and prepare two trapezoid billets that will become the ends. The tapered parts of the blanks are attached to a thicker board that will serve as the bottom of the trough. For fastening it is best to use metal corners, as well as nails or screws.
If you plan to move the trough constantly, allowing the piglets to get to food on both sides, then the front and back sides of the feeder should be the same height.
If the feeder is fixed in the pen permanently, it is recommended to make its back side higher.
If necessary, the working part of the feeder can be divided into several sectors, nailing bars of 40x40 mm. Across the inner and outer surfaces of the trough, you need to go with sandpaper, smoothing out sharp edges and chips that can injure pigs or adult pigs.
Remember that the less parts you use for the construction of the trough, the stronger, more practical and more convenient it will be in cleaning.
Short-lasting capacity from a plastic barrel
Many pig producers who do not want to spend time and effort on the construction of traditional wooden feeders for piglets use other materials, each of which has its own advantages and disadvantages.
The easiest way to make a trough of plastic barrels of any size. For this, a container that has not previously been used to store poisons and chemically active substances is cut along the vertical by a grinder along into two parts. The sharp edges of the cut are treated with sandpaper, and the farmer gets two feeders, perfectly suited for fattening piglets.
If you cut the barrel into asymmetric parts, then you may have at your disposal a shallow feeder for piglets and a volumetric trough, which is perfect for feeding adult sows or boars.
The main disadvantage of such constructions is their fragility, since playful and strong pigs will surely begin to scratch their backs against the trough or bite the plastic, making the feeder unusable.
Corroded metal trough
You can easily build a trough for pigs, using an old iron barrel or a gas cylinder. In the first case, the manufacturing algorithm of the feeder does not practically differ from that given above for plastic containers. The only difference is that it is necessary to equip the stoppers of the fattening sectors with a welding machine and metal reinforcement with a cross section of at least 1.5 mm. This allows all pigs in the pen to get to food and water.
The main disadvantage of such a trough is that in conditions of high humidity of the pigsty the metal begins to rust, and the feeder gradually collapses.
Therefore, they are best mounted at the walls or fences of the pen, installing on special concrete coasters.
Any owner of a private farmstead can make such elevations on his own by forming special forms and a bay of concrete.
Durable gas bottle feeder
An excellent solution would be to make a trough for pigs from an old gas cylinder. All work should be carried out in the open air and only after the gas is completely released from the tank.
To do this, completely unscrew the valve. Use soapy water or shampoo, which is applied to the outlet. If the bubbles do not appear, then the balloon is empty, and you can start making troughs for pigs with your own hands.
First of all, cut down the valve mount with a hacksaw or grinder. Try to prevent sparks from occurring, for which the sawing site needs to be watered periodically with water. The inside of the container must be thoroughly washed with soapy water and left in the open air for several days.
Remember that combustible gases, especially propane, have a persistent odor, which must be eliminated during the construction of the trough.
Further the cylinder is cut by the grinder, on symmetric or asymmetrical parts. Restraining rods are welded to them, preventing the pigs from getting into the feeder with their feet, and the sharp edges are processed with sandpaper.
This trough is better to install permanently on wooden or concrete supports. It will reliably serve at least 20-25 years.
Some pig producers prefer to install homemade troughs made of ceramic or asbestos-cement pipes in their pigsty. Feeders from these materials are practically not subject to corrosion and can serve for a long time. Some experts believe that asbestos is a harmful substance that adversely affects the health of adult pigs, although such an effect has not been experimentally proved with respect to fattening piglets.
If you have 10 or more piglets in the same pen, then it is better to install one common trough along the front fence divided into the required number of fattening sectors.
Ceramic or asbestos cement pipe of the desired size is cut along into two equal parts. This is very important because the cut bias can make the entire structure fragile and unreliable.
The resulting half of the pipe is installed on a previously prepared concrete support. The cross sections should be closed with a wooden plug, and the gaps should be covered with cement mortar or sealant.
It is impossible to securely restrict stoppers to such pipes, therefore the trough should be covered with a specially welded grill. For this, fittings with a cross section of 15 mm or more are taken.
The grille must be securely attached to the trough and removed during cleaning, sanitization and disinsection.
Versatility of materials for the manufacture of feeders
Often, owners of small peasant farmsteads, who grow 1-2 individuals for meat, use for feeding dairy pigs vertical plastic bottles that can be replaced as they wear out.
Some prepare small wooden troughs for this purpose. They hollow out the core of a piece of thick log, the lower part of which is made flat and can be installed on a horizontal surface. Such feeders for babies are considered the most environmentally friendly, but due to the drying and cracking of the tree are short-lived.
Sometimes farmers use cut tires for car tires as feeders, but this is not recommended. Vulcanized rubber is a very harmful substance that, along with food, enters the gastrointestinal tract and accumulates in the muscle tissue of pigs. Regular consumption of such pork can adversely affect human health and its reproductive functions.
Remember that the main thing in constructing a trough for pigs is the ecological and sanitary-hygienic safety of the materials used. As well as the simplicity and convenience in feeding pigs and carrying out cleaning.
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