Deep Straw Bedding for Happy Pigs and Happy Farmers

Because of changes in environmental regulations and animal welfare rules, Swedish farmers had to make some changes to their hog management. They came up with a system for housing groups of sows on deep straw bedding that provided multiple benefits, from improvements in manure management, to warmer, more comfortable sows, to reduced labor, costs and odor. Check it out and see how you might adapt this method to your own hog operation. Movable Hoop Houses - Or No Houses at All! Before you even figure on housing, you need a good source of clean straw for bedding. For a group of about 8-12 sows plan on putting down two round bales to start, and then an additional round bale to add each week. You'll also need equipment to remove and spread the manure. It's valuable stuff, and you'll want to get it back into the field. Installing a deep straw bedding system is a lot cheaper than a typical confinement system, with costs ranging from 30-40% lower, to even less if you are retrofitting an existing facility. This appeals to Iowa State researcher Mark Honeyman who says, "If you want more flexibility, you need a lower cost option. In a rapidly changing industry, why not create a system that's flexible rather than one that locks you into a certain production system?" That's pretty much what we think about most things, and it seems particularly true here. D

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3 thoughts on “Deep Straw Bedding for Happy Pigs and Happy Farmers

  1. “Hogs fed on the pack need about 10% more feed, because it doesn’t all get into the hogs.”

    Does this mean no feed troughs are used? Feed poured on the ground? or spillage out of troughs can be 10%?


    1. Hi Donald,
      Thanks for the great question. The article has been updated to include an answer. In general, troughs are used, but some may be spilled on the pack, depending on the location of the feed troughs. Also, some have found that pigs on pack need more feed to gain weight.
      Thanks for reading!

      1. I would guess they don’t convert as well because they are spending energy looking in the pack for spilled feed. 🙂 Rooting and being happy. Thanks.

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