A Plus For Freedom of Movement and Security:
The New “VarioFlex” Farrowing Pen
In cooperation with a research consortium, the Lower Saxonian manufacturers of house equipment, WEDA Dammann & Westerkamp have developed a new kind of farrowing pen. With a new structure, the innovation truly lives up to its name, - “VarioFlex“. On a limited space, the free running mother sow and the piglets are now provided with much more space for free movement. This way, the farmer gains a maximum of security.
The efficient use of space is only made possible on the base of the well thought out pen structuring. Within the farrowing pen, with a pen size of 6.4 m2, the sows thus have an area for free movement of 4.5 m2. The piglets rest and warm themselves up on a piglets’ nest space of 1.4 m2.
The agronomical benefits are also new: the comfortable adjusting of a swivelling grid in one-handed operation ensures more space and also the protection of the piglets and of the working farmers. WEDA Dammann & Westerkamp have especially designed a new locking system for this. As opposed to customary pens, from the use of the swivelling grid, an increase of space results for the mother sow and for the piglets, on which the animals can move freely.
The VarioFlex Farrowing Pen has a height of only 1.15 m in the area of the mother sow, and a pen height of 0.5 m in the area of the piglets’ nest. The stalling in and out of the animals takes place through the entry gate, which enables uncomplicated and effortless work. A new kind of locking system for the pen gate supports the independent working inside the house – a plus for all staff members and trainees. The piglets’ nest is positioned directly at the passage so that quick control of the piglets is possible without entering the pen. This problem-free check-up is supported by the 50 cm high pen wall in the area of the piglets’ nest.
In case of possibly occurring difficulties with the mother sow, for example during the treat- ment of her piglets, the mother sow can be fixated at short notice from the side of the passage, by readjustment of the swivelling grid. An entering of the pen without contact with the mother sow is thus easily possible. This technology supports the required security, especially also for inexperienced staff members or trainees. From these advantages, a maximum of clear arrangement and security is resulting for the farmer.
Within the framework of a project, promoted by the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELV), resp., by the Annuity Bank (Farrowing Pen 2020, Order Number of the Annuity Bank: Approval of May 27th, 2015), two variations of a free farrowing pen were developed and examined by a research consortium. Members of the consortium were:
- WEDA Dammann & Westerkamp GmbH
- En-Sta GmbH - STA Serviceteam Alsfeld
- Landesbetrieb Landwirtschaft Hessen (LLH), Landwirtschaftszentrum Eichhof und
- Institut für Tierzucht und Haustiergenetik der Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen.