Sows

Photo & video 2036 views 3 commentslast update:Feb 25, 2016

FARM VISIT: Earl Menguy, France

It isn’t quite clear whether France has fully met all new EU guidelines with regard to group housing for gestating sows. Where the change was applied, however, reactions are positive. Sébastien Menguy, pig breeder near Plussulien, Brittany, France, explains.

Photo

  • FARM VISIT: Earl Menguy, France

    Sébastien Menguy, 35, took over the farrow-to-finish farm from his father and mother in 2009.

  • FARM VISIT: Earl Menguy, France

    In total, the farm has 350 sows, but also 50 cows and 150 ha of arable land.

  • FARM VISIT: Earl Menguy, France

    One of the challenges for Sébastien Menguy was to provide group housing facilities for his gestating sows, as this has been compulsory in the European Union since 2013.

  • FARM VISIT: Earl Menguy, France

    Since group housing requires more space, about 600 m2 had to be added to the existing facility – an addition of 30 x 22 m.

  • FARM VISIT: Earl Menguy, France

    Menguy opted for a management system using Electronic Sow Feeding (ESF) stations – and had it installed in 2011.

  • FARM VISIT: Earl Menguy, France

    The five feeding stations are manufactured by Dutch intelligent solutions provider Nedap.

  • FARM VISIT: Earl Menguy, France

    By being allowed to walk around and stretch their legs, the sows are more active, healthier and more easy to handle, Menguy says. Healthier sows lead to better quality piglets, he adds.

  • FARM VISIT: Earl Menguy, France

    One would expect more claw problems in group housing, but the opposite turned out to be true, Menguy said.

  • FARM VISIT: Earl Menguy, France

    The group of gestating sows is dynamic and consists of approximately 250 sows; fighting for hierarchy usually does not take long and sows can simply lie down somewhere else.

  • FARM VISIT: Earl Menguy, France

    Data about the sow’s feed consumption pattern can be interactively accessed online – and feed allocations can be adjusted if needed.

  • FARM VISIT: Earl Menguy, France

    In the gilt facility, a mock ESF door has been built in, for training purposes. This way, the gilts already are familiar with a door when it becomes part of their daily routine of getting fed.

  • FARM VISIT: Earl Menguy, France

    On it goes on a tour through the other parts of the farm. The sows are kept in insemination rooms for a very short while – they can go into the group housing facility immediately after service.

  • FARM VISIT: Earl Menguy, France

    At the time of the visit, Menguy weaned about 25 pigs/sow/year.

  • FARM VISIT: Earl Menguy, France

    All piglets for meat production are crossbreeds (Large White x Landrace and Piétrain).

  • FARM VISIT: Earl Menguy, France

    The farm has 1,440 places for growers.

  • FARM VISIT: Earl Menguy, France

    After a group has left the grower facility, it is easy to clean by lifting up the floor parts.

  • FARM VISIT: Earl Menguy, France

    The finishers stay in housing dating from 1995 and are fed ‘soup’ – French for liquid feed. The mixture is prepared on-site by mixing dry feed with water prior to sending it to the pigs.

  • FARM VISIT: Earl Menguy, France

    The finishers are kept in groups of 12 to 15.

  • FARM VISIT: Earl Menguy, France

    The finishers get sent to slaughter at 115 kg – and will be sent to Cooperl, France’s largest pig cooperative. Cooperl also provides feed for Menguy farm.

  • FARM VISIT: Earl Menguy, France

    An outdoor manure storage basin.

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