As (pig)Easy as the MealMeter makes feeding sows, we field some questions that can get a little complex. I answered the top 5 questions we typically field on the MealMeter in a previous post, but I wanted to take it further with more set up and usage questions this time around. Here are the top 5 questions we receive on the MealMeter in regards to set up and usage:
What type of feed can be dispensed with the MealMeter?
Pelleted feed and mash feed will easily and completely dispense through the MealMeter. Because it is positive flow, the MealMeter does not leak nor does it need to be adjusted. The back agitator keeps both pelleted feed and mash feed flowing to prevent hang ups or clogging.
Will it fall out?
When installed correctly, it shouldn’t.
If you walk into a room with a MealMeter laying in the bowl, it’s likely because the MealMeter wasn’t completely latched into the rivet/stud. (When correctly latched, you will hear and feel a click.)
It’s also important to latch the MealMeter away from the sow. Sows turn the MealMeter “up” (see photo), so she turns the MealMeter into the stud when the MealMeter is latched into the rivet/stud away from her.
In the breeding area, can I install it in existing feed tubes?
Let’s first get into what is required of the feed tube for the MealMeter to be installed and work.
- The tube needs to be 3” OD, with a completely round and true opening. Most feed tubes manufacturers use a regular tube bender that distorts the end of the tube. Even if it looks completely round and true, the tube typically has enough distortion where the MealMeter can’t fit into the end.
- The tube’s tail needs to be angled up from the floor roughly 45 degrees (see photo)
- The tube’s tail needs to sit roughly 90 degrees from the sow (see photo)
- The tube will need to have a stud installed at the correct spot to latch the MealMeter into.
- The tube should have a viewing window for easy and concise feed management.
- There needs to be enough room for the sow to access underneath the MealMeter should some feed be pushed underneath.
Most existing feed tubes are either at the wrong angle, not in the best of condition, has a distorted end or all of these.
The good news is we custom design each of our feed tubes to easily fit on your stall ready for the MealMeter. It’s as simple as sending us a photo and some dimensions and you’ll have a custom feed tube ready for your operation.
Can I install on existing lactation feeders?
With the lactation boot, the MealMeter can be installed on (almost) any existing feeders. However, it may require additional modification depending on the height of the back of your bowl and the placement of head gate rods.
The MealMeter can be installed into the vast majority of sow feeders on the market. We also suggest installing the PigEasy Lactation Water Pipe with button nipple to maximize intake and minimize waste. For more information on that, please read this post.
Where in the sow farm do you install the MealMeter?
We suggest installing the MealMeter in all areas where feed intake is critical in the sow’s reproductive cycle. These areas are in the gilt row, the wean row, an area for under conditioned sows, and in lactation.
In the gilt row, new gilts usually don’t consume their typical daily ration. Typically, consultants blame it on gilts getting used to the stall. Our observations found something else. Gilts come from a GDU or isolation barn in pens, eating from a grow/finish feeder where they consume at will, throughout the day. We then move them into individual stalls after they cycle and drop large amounts of feed, once or twice a day. In addition, when we water in the trough, we’re expecting them to consume their ration in a short amount of time before it gets washed down to their neighbor. All too often, either the feed gets stale and it doesn’t get cleaned up, or it washes away.
With the MealMeter, they get fresh feed, every time, throughout the day. We found on our own sow farm an increase in 1.75 pigs per litter total born simply by converting the feed delivery system to the MealMeter.
The wean row is another area where feed intake is very important, but it seems like traditional drops can never get it right. Sows are coming out of lactation where they had full access to feed, 24/7. They enter an individual stall with fluctuating hormones and we expect them gobble up their daily ration before the water turns on. We have MealMeter customers who experience an improvement in breed back because their sows consistently have fresh feed.
In turn, sows that come back to the breed barn a little thin from farrowing a big litter can get the time and feed they need to bounce back ready for another successful parity.
Lactation is where sows really need as much feed and water as possible because they are working hard to milk large, healthy litters. On our sow farm, managers estimate they clean out roughly 1-4 out of 450 feeders a day. That’s less than 1%! We have customers who claim they are saving half a person in labor by utilizing the MealMeter because someone doesn’t have to spend time cleaning out feeders every day.
With clean feeders and a never ending supply of feed for lactating sows, these animals are leaving farrowing in condition and ready to be rebred for another productive litter.
The MealMeter feed dispenser is the only feed delivery tool on the market that works well in ALL of these critical areas of the sow farm. When sows have a reliable feed delivery tool when feed intake is most important, they can arm themselves with the caloric intake needed to produce healthier pigs for much longer than when they experience intake dips.
We know this not only because we’ve seen it on our own sow farm, but our customers are observing the difference too. Call (888) 354-0112 to learn more.
Until Next Time,