Comprehensive management plan critical to piglet survival
Having a clear plan in place to manage sows and piglets before, during and after farrowing is critical to increasing piglet survival and maintaining sow health.
Richard Bows, knowledge exchange manager at AHDB Pork, told Farmers Weekly that a number of factors contribute to piglet survival.
But by encouraging farm staff to have a management strategy for all stages of production, producers could increase their units’ success.
To minimize infection risks, Bows recommends stockmen follow seven steps ensure farrowing houses are thoroughly cleaned before farrowing.
These include allowing the house to dry entirely before bringing in a new batch of sows, and heating the cleaned room so a fresh stock are not entering a cold house.
When introducing new gilts he recommends minimizing stress by giving pigs extra time to get into the pen, providing plenty of nesting material, and keeping an eye on feed intake.
Piglets tend to be born 40 minutes apart, so intervals between births should be recorded to monitor if there are problems during farrowing. If the gaps become larger, intervention may be necessary.
Finally, post-farrowing it’s important to consider both the diets of the sow and her piglets, Bows said.
“Most producers will feed a specific farrowing or lactating diet which will be specially formulated by both the farmer and nutritionist to ensure it meets the demands of the sow.
“It is important at this stage to ensure the sow doesn’t stall in terms of feed intake — by under- or over-eating.
“To avoid this, a feed chart is a useful way to increase feed intake in a structured way, as well as to assess daily whether sows are eating well and looking healthy.”
Posted on July 25, 2019