Well-Designed Pig Sorting Scales Reduce Stress and Injury to Animals

Well-Designed Pig Sorting Scales Reduce Stress and Injury to AnimalsWith the pressures to maintain an efficient barn and provide an environment in which to raise animals for a profit, safety is a critical component, not only for yourself and your staff, but the animals themselves. Older methods of crowding a large number of animals into a huge space or having smaller pens overcrowded with pigs, and then the animals being moved for manual sorting by people crowded in with them are practices of the past.

Sorting scales and directed walkways go a long way to ensuring the safety and health of your animals. They also help with personnel safety, lowering the interaction needed to safely weigh the livestock. Weighing, being such a crucial factor in profit prediction, health maintenance and budgeting, make it imperative that you have in place an operation that allows for individual weighing of your animals. This limited human involvement will also reduce stress to each individual animal, making it healthier and calmer.

The barns and pens themselves can be very stressful environments for pigs, housed as they often are in crowded conditions, sometimes dominated by a controlling “alpha” animal. It can lead to fighting and agitation, causing injuries to your valuable livestock. A further stressor can come at sorting time, when animals are typically pushed together into a pen, then manually sorted according to approximated weight-guessing. The risks to health of both people and animals are raised when there’s manual sorting, putting lighter pigs back into the feeding rotation, and market-ready pigs onto trucks. Eliminating the hand-sorting element makes for a safer barn.

Well-designed pens, sorters and scales can reduce the time needed to complete the task, and greatly reduce chances for injury to people or animals. Animal-friendly design provides for a safer, more efficient operation, with padded alleys, open framing, open, more comfortable matted flooring, rounded edges…each element creating a safer environment for all involved. The pigs are herded into a single-file line and trapped singly on a weighing scale. The data is fed to a computer, which then gives a readout, available on-site or saved to a USB memory stick. The animals are calmer because they’re not overcrowded and there’s less chance of them injuring themselves if they’re not panicking. Low profiles on the scales themselves offer the animals more assurance and a steadier step up, calming them and making them easier to manage.

Safety concerns also occur when you or your staff must handle fighting or aggression, or when overcrowding puts you and the animals at risk of waste contamination and disease spread. The losses can be economically devastating, as well as demoralizing to you, your personnel and your livestock. Single-file entry into the weighing area gives separation, enabling the animal to become calm and the worker to do his job more efficiently and safely. Once each pig is sorted, it can go to the appropriate feeding pen or holding pen, and livestock owners can make decisions about feed or slaughter with better accuracy.

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Time to Market is Greatly Improved with Sorting Scales

Time to Market is Greatly Improved with Sorting ScalesWith the complexities involved in running a successful hog farm, it can be a daunting task to get everything done in the time you need from birth of the animal to taking it to market for sale. Because of this, pig sorting scales have grown in popularity for livestock owners over the years.

There are the practical considerations of space, pens and feedlots set-up, personnel, feed, transportation, health maintenance (including vet bills, food, water, air circulation, supplements, room), which can make this an extremely difficult task to get the hog from being born to being a valuable sale commodity.

The invention of the sorting scale has been a huge boon to running a viable farm. It vastly improves your successes at market by lower the time needed to successfully feed and maintain the pig’s weight. Using alleys that individually sort the pigs for weighing, and then sending them to the appropriate feedlot is one way to aid in faster growth of the animal, and less time needed from you. The pig is individually weighed, and a determination is made based on the findings as to whether the pig needs more food and nutrients or less, or whether the pig is doing just fine within your timelines.

Without the time that’s needed to sort hogs by hand, you increase the efficiency with which you get an animal to sale. You’re decreasing your personnel overhead, and cutting down on time spent doing anything but getting the pig to the perfect weight for the highest price. You save on personnel time and training, the time no longer being necessary to teach someone to visually sort and classify each pig. The outdated system of eyeballing an animal and guessing at its weight is replaced by the essential technology that lets you either see the data on a screen on-site, or take it with you on a memory stick to review later. It may also be sent automatically to a local computer, or over the Internet to a central data system. You can better budget your feed money, and schedule health visits, saving you time in the rearing of the animals.

You can customize these scales to send the pig to up to five different areas, greatly reducing the time needed to visually sort the animals. A sorter can also be used to tell if pigs are at market weight of need to go back to the feeding pens for a time. You can tell if a pig needs to have food withheld prior to market sale, or if it needs more electrolyte water to reduce water shrinkage and to boost its weight and health just prior to market.

The sorter can be customized for visual separation of a sick animal, allowing it to be put in a separate pen for health maintenance. Similarly, pigs that are underweight can be automatically diverted to a pen where there’s higher-calorie, more nutrient-dense food. The weight being the indicator of progress, thinner pigs will be fattened up quicker, reducing the time you spend getting them ready for market.

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Pig Sorting Scales Improve Efficiency

Pig Sorting Scales Improve EfficiencyWay back when, the way to conduct an animal ranch operation was kind of scattershot. You’d let the animals out to pasture at the beginning of spring, let them wander around for months and then collect them later. Pigs roamed at will, eating wherever and whatever they pleased. Larger hogs only got larger, because they forced smaller ones out of the way.

Today’s farms have greatly adapted to increase efficiency. It raises the profit margin for the business owner and lowers the cost of the product for the consumer. Pigs are brought up quickly, and feeding is measured carefully because of the high cost of food and the desire to have pigs reach maturity quickly. Further, pigs are better cared for with adequate ventilation, heat, and feeding schedules.

Being based on the weight of the pig, the prices paid at market to the farmer vary wildly. There is a very small gap in which the acceptable weight lies. Too big, and farmers will not see the highest price. Too small, and there will be a similar result.

An essential tool for the modern farmer is a pig sorting scale. Helping animals reach their target sale weight, animals pass through the automatic scales on their way to feeding. Through the use of swing gates, different weights mean a different direction to their food. If the pig is lighter than it should be, it’s sent to a feeding area with higher-nutrition food. If they’re getting too heavy, they’re sent to feed with lower nutritional value. This saves you time and money, eliminating any guesswork or visual guesstimates as to weight and health.

Data is also collected on the animals as they pass through the scales. Each individual weight is calculated and recorded, with the data available on a display screen or saved to a memory stick. You can get the stick at any time, allowing you to monitor the pigs at a convenient time and place, not necessarily in front of the scales. Software then helps you decide the best course for feeding, giving you accurate statistical data. Data may also be sent directly to a computer, or over an Internet link.

Your work on deciding how much feed to give your animals is greatly reduced because there’s no more guessing or experimentation. You’re given solid numbers to work with, allowing you to make your feed and nutrition decisions faster, all adding to your bottom line profits. As an additional benefit of using a pig sorting scale, you need not mix healthy and unhealthy pigs, or very small and very large hogs. This segregation of your livestock will prevent stress and injury in the animal, and may halt the spread of a herd decimating disease, like swine based flu.

You’re more efficient because your data is more accurate. You can sit at the computer at night, when you’re done with the day, and analyze your pigs’ progress. Making decisions to increase your profit margin by creating a product that’s more profitable is a sound business move, allowing you greater freedom for either personal pursuits, or expanding your operation.

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Pig Sorters Help with Weight Maintenance

Pig Sorters Help with Weight MaintenanceAs any farmer knows, pig weights can fluctuate wildly if the animal is not carefully monitored and fed. Accurate weight measurements are essential to the administration of feed, nutritional supplements, and medications. Plus, an accurate reading of weight gives you an idea of the direction you’re heading before you get the animal to market. There is a narrow window considered ideal to sell the animal at the greatest profit, so it’s essential that you know beforehand what to expect. You must also ensure that you are budgeting appropriately for feed and medical care of your herd.

In today’s tough economic climate, pork production thrives or plummets based on efficiency of operation and maintaining precise weights. The substantial money bonuses offered to the farmer with animals falling into the desired weight window is nothing to sneeze at. Also, the penalties for too-heavy or too-light animals can be crippling. Your goal is to bring in the animals on time, and at the perfect weight. Before pig sorters came into wide use, many farmers used the inaccurate method of simply eying each pig, and guessing the weight.

Pig sorters are an important tool towards allowing the farmer to reach an exact weight range on the date of sale. Weight bonuses are more easily met with your ability to correctly measure the weight of a group. Getting detailed weight information allows you to plan for shipping efficiently within the weight ranges you want.

The most practical way to attain these results is through the use of automatic pig scales and sorters. The equipment is made up of a scale that cages the animal individually. There’s a pair of gates allowing the pig to enter, then these gates close, ensuring only one animal at a time. After getting the weight, a determination is made based on the average weight of a group of animals, as to whether the pig is too heavy, too light, or just right. Through another series of gates, the pig is sent to the appropriate feedlot, each designed to bring about a different weight result, or maintain what is already happening. The result is more efficient feed management, saving you money in the end. You don’t want too much feed going to an already overweight animal, and conversely, you don’t want to skimp on feed for the underweight pig. Additionally, when animals are penned together, large animals will fight for food, and sometimes injure smaller animals. By sorting your pigs, you ensure that only animals of similar size are in each pen, and will not compete for resources.

Monitoring the weight over a period of time allows you to make decisions to design better diets and plan for feed budgets. You’ll be better able to predict what monies are needed for feed and supplements, based on the detailed analysis you’ll receive from the computerized scales. The sorters send the pigs to different feedlots, allowing you to customize each lot based on this weight information, bringing your bottom line into more predictable focus.

There are pig sorters and scales with two-way, three-way sorters, with adaptability to making as many as five different sorting decisions.

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Automatic Pig Scales Reduce Barn Labor

The impoAutomatic Pig Scales Reduce Barn Laborrtance of accurately weighing your pigs is obvious:  overweight or underweight animals cost you money at market, with bonuses being lost or penalties being fixed for undesired-weight pigs. However good you or your staff is at guessing pig weight, you can never be sure of the weight of each individual animal without a good scale.

Having the labor needed to correctly weigh animals used to be a major cost concern to the animal-rearing professional.  For example, with an individual pen-type of barn, each pen must be checked for adequacy of feed, water, and nutritional supplements.  The worker needs to be trained to sort the pigs, placing different pigs in different pens for the administration of the correctly balanced diet: whether for weight gain or loss.  It is an time-consuming process that is a skill learned over years, and is sadly often inaccurate.  These inaccuracies add to sheer man-hours spent in sorting, and at market, with substantially different prices paid for the ideally-weighed and raised pig.

Labor needed to check the hogs that meet market weight can itself be time-consuming and costly in terms of man-hours.  Chasing whole pens of pigs down an alleyway and then onto a scale, hand-separating each pig, and sending the heavier ones to the truck for market, and the lighter ones back to the feedpens…It all cuts down on your bottom line profit margin.

Pig sorters and scales are an obvious, attractive solution to the labor costs you might have once incurred.  They also greatly alleviate the time spent yourself doing the work.  Sorters and scales are designed to send the pigs to an individual enclosure, a gate closing behind a single pig at a time.   There is minimal training required to keep the pigs moving through the system in an orderly manner. The pig’s weight is recorded, and the animal is sent to from one to five different feedlots (depending on your personal customization), depending on the animal’s feeding needs.  If the pig is underweight, nutritionally-enhanced feed in the specific lot will help bring its weight up.  If its overweight, it gets less food, at lower calories.  If it’s doing just fine, it gets its normal feed.

Fewer hours and fewer personnel are needed to get the job done with automatic sorters and scales.  No one needs to be trained to visually sort the pigs and then do the work, because the sorter does that for them.  No one needs to be trained to select the correct feed for different animals’ needs, because the feedlots are filled with the required food beforehand, based on how they are going to be sorted.

Information comes to you via a display screen or through saving it on a memory stick to be viewed on your off-time, easing the requirement that you stand in the barn and do the visual work. Or the data may be wired directly to a computer or the Internet. This cuts down on your own overhead, allowing you the freedom to do your budgeting and planning in a more comfortable environment, freed from the pressures of being a human resources manager, too.

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