Expert choice June 2021

Zaxe Sow Feeding Station in Gestation

Joel Phelps


With over 35 years of experience in the swine industry and a co-owner of a 18,000-sow farrow to wean operation in Ontario, Joel is a swine specialist with experience in production, genetics, pork processing, procurement, sales and operations. Nowadays, Joel uses his experience and production background to assist producers in the implementation, design, and management of the Maximus Free Access ESF System. He holds multiple degrees, including a Masters in Agriculture Business, and he is also a board member of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee for Michigan State University and previously held the same position at University of Illinois.

Always working to create opportunities for his clients while improving overall performances and industry standards, Joel is passionate about continued education, animal care and well-being, and improved performances. Joel is dedicated to making pork affordable and nutritious, while improving swine production for the overall swine industry, which makes him the best candidate to talk about the Zaxe Sow Feeding Station as part of the Maximus Free Access ESF System for loose housing sows.


The Zaxe Sow Feeding Station is an integral part of the Maximus Free Access ESF System. This system is designed to be simple, durable and accurate, and is both animal and user-friendly. We design loose housing pens to accommodate the 10% most timid sows in the pen. This approach to pen design with the Zaxe Sow Feeding Station allows animals to exhibit natural hierarchy behaviors, therefore reducing animal stress, competition, fighting and even training. Based on the thousands of stations in use today, producers can be assured that their production performances are maintained while reducing labor and improving animal welfare in group housing.

The Zaxe Sow Feeding Station provides security, longevity, and ease of operation for both the animals and caretakers. It provides the best animal comfort and protection for sows while they’re eating. In fact, its saloon-style doors allow sows to learn to operate the mechanism easier and provide better protection for sows, and the perforated openings on the top side panels allow sows to see their surroundings at all times while in the station, so they do not have to back up and partially open the station. Also, while almost any feeding station will feed a sow, the Zaxe Sow Feeding Station and pen design provides the highest level of comfort and safety for sows while they are eating and entering / exiting the station. This increased security and safe environment allows sows to be calm and content, therefore reducing aggression, anxiety and competition within the herd. Finally, with the proper pen design and the Zaxe Feeding Station, there is no need to pre-train incoming gilts, as the stations are properly designed to be simple for them to operate.

While loose housing systems can be intimidating and a bit unknown, with attention to the right details and an understanding of animal behaviors, we can design pens and the feed stations that absolutely maintain production performance on the farm, while at the same time reduce labor and headaches for the caretakers.
Learn more about the Zaxe Sow Feeding Station in Gestation on the product-sheet below!

Watch our video on the Zaxe Sow Feeding Station in Gestation now on our YouTube channel!