Know How / Pigs / Housing and handling

From slatted to straw-based or balcony systems, we explore the options and provide advice on how to provide the best housing environment possible for pigs. You can also find advice on building new accommodation and take a tour around existing pens featured in What’s in your Livestock shed.

Case studies

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Inside a boar stud looking at how semen is collected

Attention to detail in the boar stud when it comes to housing, health, feeding, semen collection and processing has allowed farmers to access superior genetics of the highest health status…


How freedom farrowing pens match crates on performance

Traditional farrowing crates are used in the pig industry as they give piglets the best chance of survival. However the supermarket drive to increase pig welfare in indoor systems could…


How a Spanish enrichment system reduces tail biting in pigs

A rotating system of chains which moves hanging pig enrichment material from one pen to another is helping keep tail biting at bay on a Spanish pig farm. At Rosa…


What's in Your Livestock Shed? visits a £350,000 pig unit

A new pig unit at a Welsh college farm is thought to be the first in the UK to integrate every stage of production under one roof. Not only has…


Video: Mechanised rising crate floor cuts pig mortality

A Lincolnshire farm has seen piglet mortality fall as low as 0.5% in farrowing houses through investment in mechanised, sow-activated, crate flooring. When farm manager Ian Smith started working at…


How to set up a pig bed-and-breakfast business

Yorkshire mixed farmers Simon Marton and his son, Andy, finish pigs on contract and find it works well in conjunction with their intensive broiler and arable enterprises. The Martons, from Rise…

Practical advice

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Advice on setting up a new pig unit

Price swings are synonymous with the UK pig sector, but with the five-year outlook indicating promising times for the industry, pig production could be a viable option for some farming…


4 tips to improve cleanliness and biosecurity on pig units

Cleaning and hygiene protocols help to keep out diseases and create a good impression for staff and visitors, according to pig vet Alex Thomsett from the George Veterinary Group. Whether…


How slurry cooling techology can cut ammonia on pig units

Slurry cooling technology is an effective way to reduce ammonia emissions from indoor pig production, and the heat recovered can be used elsewhere on the farm, reducing bills and cushioning…


4 options for keeping piglets warm

Keeping piglets warm is critical to maintaining health and achieving early growth. But balancing the piglet’s ideal temperature of between 25-30C with the sow’s optimum temperature of 15-18C is difficult…


Advice on improving fire safety on your pig farm

A fire in a pig unit can have devastating consequences, often spreading quickly and destroying the piggery operation. Following a recent spate of farm fires in Ireland, some pig producers…


Tips on improving water quality for pigs

There are big opportunities to achieve better pig health and growth through simple changes to water systems, with potential yet to be fully explored on many units. Pigs need ready…


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Q&A: Pig housing - balcony systems explained

Balcony systems can offer a practical housing solution for pig units by increasing floor space within the footprint of existing sheds. Few of these systems exist in the UK but…


10 Danish loose farrowing pens compared

Ten European loose-housed farrowing pens are being assessed for pig, piglet and worker welfare in a world-leading product test. This follows industry targets for 10% of Danish sows to be…


Housing issues cause losses of £224 a sow a year

Pig producers could gain an additional £224 a sow a year by improving their environment to ensure pigs meet their genetic potential. On average, pigs only realise 35% of their…