A "pig palace" is how The Roundhouse was described when the World famous Sheepdrove Organic Farm opted for one to finish their outdoor reared pigs.
The Roundhouse lends itself to the straw yard system and can be split into anything from one to eight pens depending on the system. Using external feeders and the integral handling system is a good way of running a dry sow pig operation with reduced stress and ease of handling key to the operation.
Animal welfare, handling and loading
The Roundhouse has been designed with animal welfare in mind – be it the environment, or the handling system.
The open sides and roof vent mean airflow is perfect for the animals, flowing evenly in through the sides and out through the top. Users of the building report much lower rates of disease.
The open internal layout means the animals can always see other animals across the building, reducing stress because the “fright and flight” zone is much wider than in a conventional building.
The integral crowd pen and handling system are key, making management of stock much easier and stress free than in conventional buildings – for both the animals and stockman.
The crowd pen is accessible from all pens and delivers the stock directly into the handling system, and then onward to the loading dock.
Feed and Water
Feeding methods within the Roundhouse are down to the requirements of the specific operation. Current methods blow nuts into straw for foraging sows. There is also enough space between the top of any trough and bottom of the roof to comfortably fit a round bale through. There is no need to open gates or enter the pens for either feeding or bedding purposes.
Water is delivered to small troughs via a gravity fed system that utilises a single header tank in the handling area. There are no ball-cocks accessible to the stock, so there is nothing for them to damage or to freeze in bad weather.
Rainwater is diverted into channels running down the outer support columns of the buildings, and then into the drainage system to prevent the water ending up on yards. However the water can be diverted and harvested to supply the building if necessary, for added cost saving.