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U.S. patent issued for milk cup for nursing pigletsU.S. patent issued for milk cup for nursing piglets

Proprietary technology allows swine producers to move supplementation milk cups within a farrowing facility while system is running.

May 25, 2017

2 Min Read
U.S. patent issued for milk cup for nursing piglets

Ralco, an agriculture and aquaculture technology company, announced that the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has issued U.S. Patent 9,635,838 B2 covering the Birthright Moveable Cup.

This proprietary technology is a new in-line milk system that increases the profitability and efficiency of swine producers by allowing them to move supplementation milk cups within a farrowing facility while the system is running.

Ralco entered into an agreement in 2015 with Advanced Birthright Nutrition for the exclusive worldwide rights to sell and distribute the Birthright Moveable Milk Cup.

Swine producers that utilize Birthright Moveable Cups plumb each crate in a farrowing room and then insert or remove cups as needed. Installing cups only in crates with litters that require supplementation targets smaller pigs for more uniform litters and less weaning of underweight pigs. Targeting the pigs that require Birthright baby pig milk replacer reduces overfeeding and controls milk costs, the company explained.

The technology enhances biosecurity in that cups can be removed while a milk system is functioning and undergo a thorough cleaning, Ralco said. Also, completely cleaning the underside of the milk cup is very difficult if the cup cannot be removed while the system is functioning.

“Birthright Moveable Cups are easy to clean. In all other milk systems, the milk cups are almost never removed for cleaning, because you must shut down the entire system. Most milk cups are washed with pressure washers between farrowings, but it is hard to clean the bottom of the cups, because they are still attached to the milk line. Birthright Moveable Cups can be removed while the milk system is in operation for easy cleaning. They could even be washed in a dishwasher. Birthright Moveable Cups are essential for biosecurity,” said John Vignes, inventor of Birthright Moveable Cups and baby pig milk replacer. The moveable cup was designed by mechanical engineer Justin Vignes.

The moveable cup technology also works well for iso-wean producers that sell 19- to 21-day-old pigs because they can target litters with small pigs. Most iso-wean producers have farrowing contracts stipulating that most pigs must weigh at least 8 lb. (3.6 kg) at weaning, or else they will be sold at half-price. Strategic supplementation allows Birthright Moveable Cups to be inserted in crates with smaller pigs one week before weaning to ensure that all pigs reach the proper weight for greater uniformity and profit.

Birthright Moveable Cups can provide additional benefits in the case of a disease outbreak. Cups can rapidly be installed in all crates, and piglets can easily be medicated and fed milk or electrolytes.

Ralco is a third-generation, family-owned, multinational company with distribution in more than 20 countries. Ralco supports large segments of the livestock, poultry, aquaculture and crop industries as a global provider of livestock nutrition, animal health products and crop enhancement products.

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