Farming column with Sam Walton

An Aardvark with conventional arks in the background.
An Aardvark with conventional arks in the background.

Last week I mentioned about Stys for pigs. This week I am going to mention Arks.

I am sure that most people will have heard about Noah who built an Ark and put a pair of every living creature on board to save them from the floods.

A sow suckling in an Aardvark.

A sow suckling in an Aardvark.

Pig farming makes good use of Arks too in as much as they are used in outdoor systems for the sows to have their piglets born in.

There are many sizes and shapes, some square, some oblong and now we have a brand new range called the Aardvark.

It won an award at this year’s National Pig Fair and having been to a couple of farms which are using them, I can say it is working just as well as it looks.

So how do they vary from conventional arks and what does that give them?

Firstly it is round, double skinned and insulated which keeps the sow and piglets at a more even temperature.

At the rear of the ark there is a small door which is opened and closed by a wax valve which heats up and cools down according to the temperature, so that also helps with the atmosphere in the lying area.

This has resulted in the sow spending more time inside which means the piglets suckle more often and consequently weigh more at weaning.

Because of the sloping sides, the sow cannot lie tight up to them so that leaves an area where the piglets can safely lie without being accidentally crushed.

The pivoted outdoor fender keeps the piglets in and allows the sow to get out and walk around for her feed and water and very cleverly designed within the fender, a small feed trough for the piglets which the sow cannot access, plus there is water system which allows the piglets to drink, again helping with the extra weight.

So the comments are, less mortality, heavier pigs and with the fender folded up, is easy to move.

I describe it as brilliant.