Balcony systems to increase space for pigs
The balcony system, also known as a two-level pen or plateau, can be used commercially for both weaner and finisher pigs. This system is already used in the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Ireland and some farms in the UK.
Why are balcony systems used?
The system was developed as a way to increase pen space for pigs, improving welfare and providing functional zones within a pen. This includes areas for lying, exploring and dunging.
The Dutch specification has been developed over a period of 10 years by researchers, equipment companies, farmers, governmental representation and the Dutch Society for the Protection of Animals, to create an optimal design.
In the Netherlands, the system is recognised as a higher welfare system and has been awarded two ‘Beter Leven’ (Better Life) stars.
Although there are known continental and UK suppliers of the equipment, you should consult your assurance scheme before implementing on your own farm to ensure the system is compliant.
Figure 1. A commercial balcony system