At New Standard, we strongly believe that forward exiting electronic feeders facilitate the best barn layout for sows. In addition to being supported by research, forward exiting just plain works. Forward exiting is vital to ESF success for several reasons.
Sows are fully protected in the feeder.
In forward exit ESF there is plenty of distance between a sow's backside (and sides) and those waiting to access the feeder. There is plenty of space between the back end of the eating sow and the locked gate. This helps reduce incidences of aggression and vulva biting.
It aligns well with sow's natural self protective behaviors.
Sows want to stay safe. Jostling into excited, hungry sows when they've just had a full meal is not their idea of a good time. If you allow the fed sows to forward exit safely away from the excitement, you help eliminate the conditions for aggression and behavior issues.
The exit area is calm.
Sows in the exit area are naturally either dunging or resting. They've just had a big meal and aren't interested in a fight. It is a safe place for a full and pregnant sow to digest in peace.
It allows for a natural delineation of areas.
It is clear where sows will dung and rest in this system as sows naturally want to do these things after eating. Because of the forward exit, that area is far from the entrance to the feeders. Just like humans, sows don't want their dining room and bathroom in the same place.
It discourages dominant sows from monopolizing the feeders.
In our barn designs sows have to walk around a long partition to get back to the feeder area. This long walk after a big meal quickly discourages dominant sows from bullying others at the feeders. Sows prefer the path of least resistance.
It allows for automated separation.
Imagine singling out sows that need attention without having to manually walk the pens! When workers want to separate pregnancy checks or sows that need rebreeding all they have to do is input those ear tags into the system. When those sows finish at the feeder the gates redirect them into an isolation pen where employees can follow up. The simplified system means less drama for the sow and a much easier time for barn employees.
It increases employee job satisfaction.
Everyone, including the sows, prefers peace and calm in the barn. Forward exit systems reduce the fight or flight response that often surrounds the act of feeding. Less noise and happier sows means happier employees. But don't just take our word for it. In the video below, employees from Synergy talk about how using a forward exit ESF system has impacted their work experience.