First free-access function for the group farrowing system „AGILO“
Big Dutchman has enhanced the new, animal-friendly AGILO group housing system for lactating sows and presents the first farrowing frame with free-access function for AGILO at EuroTier 2022. With the new free-access mechanism, the rear doors of the farrowing frame close as soon as a sow enters the stall. The sow can then eat or relax without being disturbed – and leave the retreat on her own whenever she wants to return to the activity area where she can exhibit natural behaviours. In this manner, positive experience with free-access stalls used when keeping pregnant sows in groups has been passed on to the farrowing frame in group housing systems for lactating sows.
The front operating element of the new farrowing frame consists of two narrow doors that are connected to the corresponding rear doors by a coupler (see image 1). The farrowing frame is easy to monitor. Its front doors open into the stall. When a sow enters, the doors are pushed to the side parts of the farrowing frame. The rear doors close automatically and the sow is protected by the farrowing frame. Using a central catching function, all farrowing frames can also be closed automatically after the sows have entered and then be re-opened, allowing the sows to return to the activity area.
For the sow:
- The sow can retreat to the farrowing frame. Since the door is closed, no other sow can follow. This protection was not available with previous farrowing frames that had to be closed manually.
- The tedious closing of doors to confine sows is no longer necessary.
- Multiple farrowing frames can be put into activity mode or catching mode at the same time. In contrast to other systems, the staff do not have to close the doors or side parts of individual pens. This improves ease of use and saves time, which can be invested to monitor the sows.
Apart from the traditional individual housing of lactating sows, sows in the farrowing area can also be kept in groups. The “group farrowing pen” concept comprises multiple farrowing boxes that are located next to one another and a central activity area which the sows can reach from any of these boxes. Every farrowing box has its own farrowing frame with an eating area. On the left and on the right, the space designated for the piglets can be designed as a creep. When the sows are active, the farrowing frames can be opened manually so the sows can use the activity area together with the piglets. The farrowing frame stays open, even when a sow is inside.