Adjusting Feeders in Finishing
Feed accounts for 60 to 70% of the cost of pork production. If a feeder adjustment is too open, feed wastage can increase and reduce overall building feed efficiency resulting in increased cost of production and the addition of excess nutrients to the manure handling system. When feeders are closed to tightly, feed intake and growth rate can be reduced and fighting may occur. Optimal feed intake and minimal feed wastage are important and occur when feeders are properly adjusted.
Steps to ensure feeder adjustment is correct:
- Before placing pigs in pens clean feeders and completely close the adjustment and then add feed.
- Open the feeder adjustment just enough to allow feed to flow into the trough.
- Shake the feeder and/or feeder adjustment mechanism to assure feed flow.
- Adjust feeder so pellets or meal will cover 1/3 of the feed pan.
- Routinely use a hook or other hand tool to clean corners and reach under the feeder gate dislodging any caked feed instead of raising the adjustment mechanism.
- Observe pigs and feeders daily:
- If any feed is on the floor around the feeder then the feeder adjustment mechanism should be tight ened.
- If pigs appear to working too hard for feed or the amount of fighting observed at the feeder is high then the feeder should be cleaned and the feeder adjustment mechanism may need to be opened.
- Repair or replace feeders and feeder mechanisms that are broken or difficult to adjust.
- Proper feeder adjustment results in limited feed in the tray bottom.
For more information, please search for the following resources on PIG:
- Managing Feed Waste PIG Answers:
- Adjust Feeders
- Schell, T., van Heugten, E., & Harper, A. Managing Feed Waste. Fact Sheet 07-04-01. Pork Information Gateway; 2006