TALES FROM THE FIELDS: Two skills show up on modernised Co Antrim pig unit

Mr Kenny Mooney and his son Hugh pictured in Mr Mooney's new piggery at his farm near Portglenone in April 1968
Mr Kenny Mooney and his son Hugh pictured in Mr Mooney's new piggery at his farm near Portglenone in April 1968

It was reported this week in 1968 that one of the most modern and interesting piggeries in Northern Ireland was run by Co Antrim farmer Mr Kenny Mooney of Ballynafeigh near Portglenone.

Mr Mooney, it was noted, was a well known farmer in the district, had been torn between his two loves – namely, farming and engineering.

His new piggery, it was reported, was “an excellent example of his ability to combine his two skills”. Not only was it built to his own design but the actual construction of the building and the installation of the ingenious feeding system had been carried out by himself.

Outwardly, the structure has all of a normal piggery – with one exception. The meal store was situated halfway up the gable wall - in fact at the end of an overhead feeding passage where the meal was wheeled along on a trolley over the tops of the pens, thus making all the floor space available to the pigs.

The feed was scooped into troughs from the trolley. Mr Mooney having rejected automatic filling from the trolley because of the necessity for accurate feeding.

From the overhead troughs the overhead the meal was dropped on to the floor by pulling a spring-loaded lever.

One of the most difficult problems to solve was the transverse flow from the slats under the floor so that both dung passages entered into the same slurry tank.

The piggery had fan ventilation, insulated roof and cavity tiles on the floor with side ventilation inlets.