Adding a water-based medicator adds flexibility to your management options. It’s easier and quicker to switch medications and supplements in the water compared to using feed additives. Also, sick animals will drink water even if they aren’t eating well.
Most show pig producers with more than a few pigs have automated their water supply by installing a water line and either nipple or cup drinkers in each pen. Plumbing a medicator into this water system is relatively straightforward. Start by installing a ball valve in the PVC pipe and plumbing a by-pass to direct incoming water through the medicator. The by-pass can be constructed of PVC pipe with ball valves, or an alternative method uses hose bibs with 5/8″ drinker hose. This alternative method is ideal for use in multiple locations, simply remove the hoses, detach the unit from the wall and move the whole assembly to the next barn.
To use the medicator, dry powders or liquid concentrates are dissolved in water (according to package directions) creating a stock solution. The suction hose from the medicator is placed in the stock tank (typically a 5-gallon bucket). The water flow from the drinking system passes through the medicator, drawing solution from the stock tank and mixing the stock solution into the pig’s drinking water.
The Dosatron DM11F medicator is one of the best choices for use with show pig herds. Because it is water powered, it requires no electricity to use, making it easy to move. The DM11F automatically compensates for changing water flows and pressures providing consistent, repeatable dosing. Its diaphragm water motor also enables the DM11F to operate at water flows as low as .02 gallons per minute. The ability to accurately dose at low flow rates is vital with young pigs and smaller group sizes.
To learn more about the DM11F medicator click here
The use of bait stations improves the effectiveness of any rodent control program. Stations protect baits from rain and dirt, helping the rodenticides stay fresh and potent longer while providing security against access from children and pets. Bait stations also provide an environment where rats and mice feel secure when feeding on baits.
Rodents are creatures of habit and travel along established paths between their nests and food supply. They will not go out of their way to visit bait stations outside their normal traffic areas. Look for signs of rodent activity such as droppings, tracks and gnawing to locate pathways. Place mouse stations 10-13 feet apart as mice seldom venture more than 50 feet from their nests. Rats range much farther afield allowing station placement to be between 25 and 50 feet apart.
Do not use mouse stations when rats are present as the bigger rodents will gnaw through the thinner plastic and expose the baits. Consider using white colored bait stations for those locations on the south exposure of buildings. The interior temperature of black colored stations can increase by as much as 30° which may melt some bait formulations.
Securely fasten stations to walls or floors to prevent them from being moved out of the traffic pathway. Use tent stakes to anchor bait stations to the ground for exterior placement. T-style stations are very versatile in their applications. Nylon ties are used to fasten them to gate rails, rafters, and even feed pipes.
Check bait stations on a monthly basis as part of the routine barn maintenance program adding fresh bait as needed. Rodents will often refuse to eat spoiled or stale bait. Observe the condition of the stations themselves as plastic can become brittle, especially the lid hinge. Stations with rotating hinges will outlast models with thin bendable strips of plastic called living hinges. During periods of heavy infestation, it may be necessary to check daily to ensure an adequate supply of bait. Stations are available with clear lids to allow a visual check of bait levels without opening the lid.
It is important to be patient when dealing with rat infestations. Rats are suspicious of new objects in their territory, and it may be several weeks before they use a new bait station. Leave stations in place even after a heavy infestation is under control. Rats are more likely to enter bait stations that have become part of the “terrain” when baiting occurs in following seasons.
Go to bait stations for pricing and ordering information.
Providing your flock with proper nesting boxes ensures they have a comfortable, secure place to lay their eggs. Without nests, the hens will seek locations on their own, making egg collection more difficult.
Allow one nest box per 4 – 5 hens. It is not necessary or even desirable to provide additional nest boxes. Besides the initial cost, extra nests require more bedding material, encourage chickens to roost in the empty slots, and take more time to clean.
Install the nests at least 18″ to 20″ above the floor preferably on a wall away from the roosting area. Because chickens like to roost in the highest part of the house, do not place the nests higher that the roosting perches. If possible try not to place the nests above feed and water to prevent contamination from nesting material and droppings.
The nests should be designed with 45° sloped roof to prevent the hens from roosting on top.
Provide a perch just below the opening for the birds to land on before entering. Nests with foldable perches allow the nest to be shut off at night to prevent roosting. Simply fold them up at night to restrict access and in the morning lower the perches for the chickens to use.
Nests will become dirty from broken eggs, bedding material or droppings and will need occasional cleaning. Choosing nests constructed from metal or plastic with removable bottoms makes the job much easier.
Flock owners can also replace straw or wood chip bedding with plastic nesting pads that are simple to pull out for cleaning.
To see all the Farmstead nests go to Farmstead Nest
Maintenance. We all know it’s important but it’s not something anybody gets excited about doing.
When I started out in the business one of the old hands told me, “You don’t even need to see the records to know if a farm is meeting its production targets. If the grass is mowed, the interior is clean and the all the equipment is working they’re doing a good job raising the pigs.”
Every farm operation faces the challenge of having too many things to do and too few resources to do them. It’s easy to start using reactive maintenance (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it) compared to planned preventive maintenance that prevents costly breakdowns. Good feeding, watering, and ventilation equipment certainly isn’t cheap and the better it’s cared for the longer it will last.
The new smartphone app, BarnRX reminds producers when it’s time to perform basic maintenance tasks. Available for either Apple or Android phones, the app comes preloaded with a monthly task list that can be checked as completed. In addition, the app allows an operator to add unique tasks to customize the maintenance list. Further customization is also possible by setting up multiple buildings.
The BarnRX app also contains an industry news feed, a listing of service techs on call, and a direct link to the Hog Slat website for ordering repair parts. The final feature is promotion section with cost-saving specials and mobile coupons only available with the BarnRX app.
To see more, watch a video, and download the app, go to www.barnrx.com
Part three of our series on treating swine drinking water.
Jesse McCoy, CWS, Business Unit Specialist, Water Treatment, Neogen Corp.
Following proper terminal line disinfection and water disinfection, the next step in a creating a beneficial water program is modifying the pH. For any animal to reach its full genetic potential, we must manage the water to achieve the correct pH level in its gut.
The pH is a measure of acidity and alkalinity. A pH of 7 is neutral; less than 7 is considered acidic and over 7 alkaline. Water pH is a major factor in determining the effectiveness of various water treatments.
Adjusting the pH into the acidic range benefits the animal’s GI tract by creating a detrimental environment for pathogenic biology. Other research points to improvements in nutritional impacts of feed at lower pH levels with organic (chemically organic – so containing carbon) acids. There may even be benefits we still don’t understand yet with pH reduction in livestock while realizing the benefits.
The available data reflect these benefits, regardless of their mode of action.
Terminal line disinfection in this research trial was achieved with a 3% solution of Peraside (peracetic acid disinfectant) administered into the lines with a sump pump upon depopulation. The solution sat in the lines overnight and was flushed the next morning with fresh water. All drinkers were triggered to ensure proper function before placing the pigs. Disinfection was achieved with 5ppm of MaxKlor (stabilized chlorine dioxide), and the pH was set to a pH of 6.5 to 6.8 using Dyne-O-Might (blended organic/mineral stabilized with iodine)
Water meters measured flow rates and triggered electric pumps for a precise chemical injection. This equipment ensured every gallon received the targeted treatment even with the small dosing requirements needed. Simple tests with a pH meter, at the drinkers, were used to show the pH level was maintained in the proper range.
By adding pH adjustment to a water treatment program, the animals can finally move from survival in the barns to thriving and reaching their genetic potential.