Consistent well-being for slaughter pigs |  succeed pig

Welfare building for slaughter pigs: first feedback from the EARL de la Cour | succeed pig

Successes and some updates. This is the results of the first year of the partners of the EARL de la Cour in their new fattening building with 1,920 places located in Andel, in the Côtes-d’Armor.

The objective was clear: to meet the high animal welfare requirements of the Kermené Collectif level 2 specifications, while optimizing technical performance, sanitation and working conditions. “ The technical and economic consolidation of our project was based on the added value offered by the specifications, but also on the synergies allowed between the building and the methanization unit. “, explains Arnaud Garoche, one of the three breeding associates. Before specifying: it is indeed the coherence of our system as a whole that enabled us to achieve our objective “. An open house was organized in February 2021 (see Succeed Pig, May 2021 page 24). As a reminder, the eight fattening rooms with 240 places in the Isotek building (I-Tek) are made up of eight hutches with a capacity of 30 pigs each. In each room, four V-shaped scraping lines allow differentiated evacuation of solid and liquid waste. The solid fraction is sent daily to the cogeneration methanizer to produce biogas. The latter produces heat, part of which is used in the form of hot water to preheat the air entering the rooms of the fattening barn by means of unit heaters located at the entrance to the ventilation ducts.

Straw for well-being and methanation

Originality of the building, straw is automatically brought into each box as burrowing and handling material for the pigs. The system consumes about 350 kilos of straw per week. A hopper is installed between two boxes, and the crushed straw falls on a solid surface and not on the grating. “We immediately made the link between the use and recovery of straw and our methanizer, specifies the breeder. Part of the straw is ingested by the pigs, what remains falls into the prepit and is evacuated by the scraper. » Asked about how his straw blower works, Arnaud Garoche replies: “ it works well, provided the straw is not wet. We have scheduled only one daily distribution for now, in the afternoon at 2:30 p.m., at the rate of 25-30 grams per pig per day “. As soon as the hoppers open, the animals show great interest by grouping together to access the straw on the ground. ” This comes in addition to wood and chain as manipulable materials. We will be able to increase the supply of straw, subject to a better economic valuation of our pork butchers. » The price of animal welfare.

More surface for better performance

Also in line with improved animal welfare, the additional area allocated per pig is integral to the success of the system. Instead of the regulatory 0.65 m² per pig, the animals here have 0.84 m² per pig. “ We had done trials in our old fatteners. The increase in surface area improves performance and sanitation “says the breeder. He also plans to apply this strategy to the other livestock buildings. According to him, ” It’s an extra cost that’s worth it “. The scraping also contributes to improving the atmosphere in the rooms. On a cost at the place announced at 750 euros, it represented approximately 150 euros (scrapers: 100 € and masonry: 50 €).

An interview not to be overlooked

Just like the empty spaces under the partitions between the boxes which facilitate washing, the air heaters – decisive for cleaning up the atmosphere – are also to be put in the chapter of the good decisions without forgetting the large windows equipped with an anti-UV film. A timer sets the range for the artificial light. Pigs in pens located near windows also benefit from natural light. ” The main modification of the building was the installation of a device for braking the air inlet », explains the breeder. Air enters the halls directly from outside through a duct under the hall corridor via Swiss poles. ” Following a few problems at the start of the building, with in particular a few episodes of tail biting, we carried out a ventilation diagnosis. The presence of gales at the south side air inlets was detected. In response, we are in the process of erecting concrete block walls to avoid variations in air speed at the entrance to the shaft and the rooms. “, explains Arnaud Garoche. Another point of vigilance: maintenance on the scrapers. These operate six times a day, only during the day. “ To avoid problems, we go through the sheath every 15 days to check and lubricate all the scrapers. That time, we hadn’t really anticipated it, details the breeder. We have installed neon lights in the shaft to facilitate the work. Arnaud Garoche is satisfied with the comfort provided by the design and layout of the building, which has improved their daily lives. ” We breathe better and we see well in the rooms. We had tried to improve working conditions as much as possible, especially for washing. It is successful on this point! A great achievement which illustrates once again the need to integrate the requirements, sometimes restrictive and costly, of the best-selling specifications on animal welfare at the scale of the building, or even of the operating system. At EARL de la Cour, the fattening building and the methanation unit work together. Enough to exploit all possible synergies and maintain a good balance.