Key points to successful service management

 

Successful service house management is dependent on how well the sow is managed throughout her previous pregnancy and lactation

 

Pregnancy

 

Feed a high fibre dry sow diet – do not over feed in pregnancy follow agreed feed curve

 

Make sure there is a regular cleaning policy for feed bins and feed lines- mycotoxin and yeast build up in feed lines can cause fertility problems

 

Scan sows 28 5o 35 days post-service to confirm pregnancy

 

Record keeping: ensure every sow has a sow card, without correct measurements there are no way to make positive improvements.  The use of a white board to record batch production each quarter is a useful tool for both staff and management   - helps to keep everyone focused.

Farrowing

 

Feed sows on specific lactating diet

 

Maximise feed intakes during lactation, target average daily intake >6.5 kg per sow during lactation.  Increase daily from first week to end of period.  Feed several times a day

 

Provide free shatter through water nipple, >2 litres per minute

 

Maintain temperature not greater than 20°C for sows, piglets require >30°C at birth through provision of heat pad or creep lamp

 

Target a minimum lactation period of 27 days, ensuring body condition is good at weaning, make sure sows have to work by ensuring they have large litters to suckle

 

Introduce creep feed to piglets after first 14 days – maintain fresh creep feeders

 

Cull, the older less productive, troublesome sows at weaning (6th parity plus), a young herd is more productive and less troublesome.  Target a 45% herd replacement rate

 

Remember that the sow’s potential performance for her next parity is hormonally “programmes” at the point of weaning.   The better the lactation the more eggs will be shed at ovulation therefore, maximising the potential for a bigger litter next time

Wean to service

 

Batch thin sows together at weaning and give supplementary feed

 

Pre-service – “flush sows” feed lactation sows diet ad lib and/or top dress with high energy weaner diet/supplement if necessary.  Reduce feed back to dry sow curve immediately post-service to avoid embryonic death.

 

Ensure provision of minimum light level of 16 hours per day minimum 300 lux (time switch)

 

Do not over expose weaned sows to the boar.  Regulate and restrict daily contact pre-service to a few minutes in order to excite weaned sows

Semen storage

 

Store semen at 17°C in semen storage cabinet, make sure there is a Max/min thermometer inside and that it is checked daily and recorded on chart

 

Turn  semen twice daily to re-suspend sperm cells and note on chart

 

Rotate stock- use the oldest first

 

Transfer to service house in an insulate box

 

Avoid over exposure to light, heat or handling stock

Service routines

 

Good service management is the fuel that runs the herd!

 

Service routine on a large herd should be approached as a team effort in a regular routine manner.  The team of  people should tackle the task at a pre determined, routine time each day, fully prepared for the task in hand – ie a barrow or trolley containing semen, catheters, bungee cords, “breeding buddies” saddle bags, paper towel, disposable gloves, spray markers and service book.

 

Always work in a same direction, ie introduce the chatty boar right to left each day, followed by a second and even third boar to maximize standing reflex in served sows.  The service house manager must be aware of batch service targets and strive to achieve these with as little deviation from the target as possible to maintain a stable batch production flow.  A clear gilt management policy is essential as the herd will require 45% replacements every 12 months

 

Ensure sows are fully of heat (standing fully in presence of the boar) eg if weaned Thursday, am start serving Monday PM. If weaned Wednesday pm start serving Monday am
Establish a routine that suits the sows wean to service interval and stick to it

Every herd is different so there is no hard and fast rule regarding wean to service interval – the optimum time for service will be judged by the service house man

 

Ensure service area is cleaned thoroughly (clean slats daily), use dry disinfectant powder if wet

 

Wash hands and clean sow vulva with paper towel before starting inseminations

 

Maximise boar contact at service thorough use of service passage, one mature boar to every five sows – nose to nose contact with mature chatty boar is vital to achieve good standing reflex.  Follow up with a second and third boar if possible

 

Maximise stimulus at service thorough use of all tools available:  boar contact, bungee cords, breeding buddies, saddle bags and flank rubbing by stockperson

 

Do not squeeze flat pack, allow sow to take in semen through maximum stimulus at service

 

If first litter sows are slow to come on heat, consider using PG600  at weaning – discuss with herd vet

 

Post-insemination- leave the catheter in the sow to continue cervical stimulation.  To prevent back flow, double over the end of catheter and push through the hole in plastic of flat pack.  Allow the sow to rest; do not attempt to move for at least three hours after service.  Remove catheter after 10 minutes.

 

Record the quality of the insemination. so if first service is poor, more attention can be paid to second insemination.   Record which operator served  each sow to allow for further analysis.

The key to successful service management are the four S’s

Segregate

Avoid over exposing boar to sow in wean to service period

Stimulate

Maximise standing reflex through use of boar, aids and stockperson

Sex

Inseminate when sow is receptive to above stimulus

Sleep

Do not move sow straight after second service – allow to rest and do not stress her – move quietly.