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AgSpeak Blog

Swine Ventilation – Choosing a Fan

There are several types of ventilation options that can be used, some more common than others. In the US, where the majority of pig production is done in just a handful of states, all of which suffer cold, blustery winters, negative pressure ventilation is the most common system. In areas where climate is more temperate, […]

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Swabbing Water Lines – A Better Level of Water Awareness

We know that biofilm is a tricky thing. It grows quickly, harbors bacteria, protects that bacteria from cleaning agents, and then releases those bacteria back into the water, potentially causing severe health issues. We clean and sanitize regularly to try to keep it controlled, but how can we know how much bacteria are actually inside […]

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Val Watering – The Original

For almost 40 years, Val Watering has been the industry leader in closed poultry watering systems. Old but gold, this video still speaks to the value, quality, and dependability you’ve come to trust from VAL-CO. We stand behind our product. We stand behind our customers. We always will.  

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Drinker Sanitation – Would you drink that water?

Water is arguably the most important element to consider when operating a poultry farm. It keeps birds hydrated, it encourages them to eat and is essential for the digestion of what they do eat, and it acts as an administration tool to deliver medications and supplements to keep them healthy. It is the essential solvent […]

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The Water Pressure Sweet Spot

Last week we talked about how important it is to have your drinker line at the proper height to ensure that birds can easily drink without spilling too much water on the floor. Of course this is important, but it’s not the whole picture, so this week we’re going to talk about water pressure. Let’s […]

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Drinker Line Height – The Line of Best Fit

Before we get started on why drinker line height is so important, there are a few facts you need to know: One: Chickens consume 1.75 pounds of water for every pound of feed. This is a constant. Two: Chickens have a maximum rate at which they can consume water, and this rate changes with age. […]

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The Dos & Don’ts of Improved Paw Quality

Footpad health is used as an audit criterion in US and Europe during animal welfare audits but it is a lesser concern than some other criterion. This is likely, at least in part, because growers don’t see any immediate financial incentive to improve paw quality. Integrators, however, have an incentive: chicken paws are really profitable […]

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The Mighty Poultry Mites

Mites are small but mighty… mighty destructive. Of all of the pests pestering chickens, mites be the worst offenders. There are several varieties, which we will review below, and they all cause grief in both farmers and chickens alike. They’re hard to see and harder to get rid of, so prevention is the best medicine. […]

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The Next Generation – The Future of Pork Production

As a new hire with VAL-CO coming from 20 years of service with Smithfield Pork Production, I have seen a lot of changes throughout the pork industry.  From pigs being raised outdoors to total confinement and, more currently, hotel-style gestation stalls where pigs can come and go as they choose – each of these changes […]

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PQA Plus & You

Growing up on a farm in southwest Missouri there was plenty of work to go around. My Dad and Grandpa instilled in me hard work and follow-through, expecting me to finish my job every day. My job was to care for the pigs, which included watering, feeding and making sure the environment was right. I […]

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Cage-free Layer Housing: System Meets Ventilation

Egg laying hens were brought inside in the 1950s to help protect from diseases, environmental threats, and predators. Feeding the world with low cost protein requires a commercial way of thinking. Large buildings with multi-stacked animal husbandry systems were designed to help protect the hens in a healthier and safer environment keeping cost in mind. […]

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“No Antibiotics Ever” Requires cleaner breeder operation

The movement towards “No Antibiotics Ever” (NAE) for animal and poultry husbandry seems inevitable. With more customers demanding antibiotic free poultry products, more grocers and restaurants are making commitments to source antibiotic-free chicken. Integrators, then, must tackle how to produce healthy, safe, affordable birds and still maintain profitability. All broiler meat production starts on breeder […]

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Avian Influenza: What You Should Know

Avian influenza, or bird flu, is carried by wild birds who are immune to its effects. While these wild, often migratory, fowl do not show signs or symptoms of the disease, they do act as carriers and can spread disease quickly over large areas. Domesticated birds – including chickens, ducks, quail, pheasants, and even ostriches – are […]

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Protecting the Farm with Biosecurity

Biosecurity has been at the forefront of every farmer’s mind since the outbreak of Avian Influenza in 2015. With the reappearance of Avian Influenza across Europe, it’s imperative that farmers stay vigilant in protecting their farms from disease. Generally, biosecurity is the protection of health through avoidance of disease. But more broadly, this includes the implementation […]

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IPPE 2017 New Product Showcase

Last week we were honored to be among over 1,270 exhibitors at the International Production and Processing Expo in Atlanta, Georgia. Over 31,000 people attended the show to learn about this year’s newest products and processes. The Expo offers educational programs such as TechTalks, as well as family-friendly entertainment, like the Chili Cook-off. Every year […]

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Gestation Stalls and State Legislature: Who has the power?

Pigs are pack animals, which means they need to establish a hierarchy, or a “boss sow”. They establish this hierarchy by attacking and fighting each other which leads to broken backs, broken legs, bittern or torn off ears and tails, bitten or torn vulvas, and terminated pregnancies. Pigs were brought inside in order to limit […]

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Management 301: Lighting for Optimal Production

When farmers started bringing hens indoors in the 1940s it was to protect their flocks from extreme weather conditions, illnesses, and predators. Over the past 50 years, farmers have done an amazing job of producing safe, affordable eggs while raising healthy hens. Recently, under scrutiny of animal welfare groups, businesses have promised to source only […]

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E. coli in Poultry: What is it?

Escherichia coli, or E. coli is distributed among poultry of all ages. The Escherichia bacteria is a natural inhabitant of the gut in poultry and most other animals. Normally, it is kept in check by other bacterium in the gut, but if large colonies form it can cause severe discomfort, illness, and mortality. E. coli is […]

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The Antibiotic Free Diet – How does it work?

The antibiotic free diet is the most important factor in maintaining bird performance without the use of antibiotics. It is imperative that birds receive a high-quality, balanced diet. The use of poorly digestible ingredients runs the risk of poor bird performance and bacterial overgrowth with subsequent disease and intestinal disorders. Bacteria need protein to grow […]

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Rearing Antibiotic Free Chicks: Give them the Best Start

With consumers and welfare groups pushing for antibiotic free production of poultry products, farmers are faced with many obstacles. How can farmers reduce antibiotic dependence and still remain profitable? It’s a challenge, for sure, but there has been a flood of research to solve the problem. Scientists and nutrition experts have found that the birds’ gut […]

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