Off to a great start in the farrowing pen with Mellow Go
The Relou family in Bakel were one of the first to test the new ‘Denkapig Mellow Go’ feed intended for farrowing pens. The piglets seemed to like the new square, soft pellets. “They start eating it when they’re a mere three days old,” Lydia Relou shares excitedly. “Being able to start feeding them solids that early on means the piglets are off to a great start in the farrowing pen and makes the weaning process easier.”
The Relou family, based in the town of Bakel in the province of Brabant, own a pig farm with 1,200 breeding sows. The company, Nederheide BV, was founded by Anny and Piet Relou some 33 years ago. Their daughter, Lydia, is planning to take over the company in the future. The family have been Denkavit customers for 25 years now, and saw their fair share of animal feed innovations in that time. It is unsurprising, then, that they were one of the first companies willing to try out the new Mellow Go.
Uniform, lively piglets
The Relou family has always paid a lot of attention to its piglets. They consider supplementing piglets’ diet with solids while they’re still in the farrowing pen to be an important aspect of that. Lydia: “I always start providing solids early on. On days three through ten, I give them Premium, and then I switch to Mini Start. I don’t provide milk for all of the piglets by default, but if I spot a litter that seems to need it, I provide an extra tray of milk. One week before I wean them, I appraise all of the piglets. I weed out the smaller ones and put them with the foster sow. This allows me to create uniform groups of lively piglets.”
Starting solids early on
Lydia immediately noticed the difference between Denkapig Mellow Go and other types of feed. “It smells good, and the shape is different, not small grains, but soft, square pellets.” She says that the piglets respond differently to it as well. Lydia: “What I’ve noticed is that they want to eat the tasty, softer Mellows right away, from the very first day onwards. And because they start eating solids right away, and fair amounts of it, the transition upon weaning is much smaller.”
Solids four times a day
The first couple of days, Lydia feeds her piglets the new soft Mellows twice a day, in small amounts at first, so that they can’t make a mess and so that it doesn’t get a chance to sit around and go stale. “As they get older, I provide more and more solids,” Lydia explains. “By the end, I can easily give them Mellows four times a day, that’s how eager they are to eat it. Only in white trays though, those are their favourites!”
Easy to use
Because Mellow Go is a dry feed, it is much easier to provide than milk. “I just put a box in every section and scoop the feed right out of the plastic bag in the box into the trays. The boxes weigh 15 kg each, making them a lot more manageable than the 25-kg bags. We even repurpose the empty boxes for split suckling,” the enthusiastic pig farmer concludes.