Do you wean less than 10 per sow



Breeding routines

The major cause of piglets not being weaned is an empty farrowing crate. Each empty crate equates to 10 lost piglets. Pre-weaning mortality starts in the service area, ensuring the numbers served is sufficient for the current farrowing rate and to enhance litter size.


All-in all-out and basic hygiene

To reduce pre-weaning mortality hygiene has got to be good. On a lot of farms all-in all-out is believed to be practised, but with fostering and foster sows this is rarely achieved. The all-in all-out must also be complete, i.e. do not forget the water supplies.


Nutrition of the gestating sow

Poor control over gestation nutrition results in low birth weights, udder oedema, mastitis problems and there is a negative relationship between the quantify fed in gestation and the appetite in the farrowing house.


Nutrition of the lactating sow

Few producers are able to maximise the sow's potential for milk production, resulting in under nourished piglets. Copious supplies of water are critical. Feeding of the lactating sow is a critical area in the farrowing house.


Adequate farrowing routines

These are necessary to reduce the number of stillborn piglets and to provide care in the first critical 24 hours.


Farrowing accommodation design

Chilling is the number one reason for piglet loss. Farrowing houses must not have any draughts. There are two micro-environments necessary, the sow at 16-18C and the piglet at 30C. The farrowing crate has got to be able to accommodate the modern sow.


Adequate antibody protection via colostrum

The piglet is born with no protection. Providing sufficient protection starts with an effective vaccination programme and protocols to maximise the colostrum intake. Draughts again are a killer.


Efficient cross-fostering routines

Protocols should be in place to provide efficient cross-fostering shortly after birth and later during lactation. There also needs to be provision for the weak piglet at weaning.


Maximise piglets' energy intake

Through good access to teats, providing good mothering sows and ensuring sows provide adequate milk. Liquid feed before day 14 may enhance gut development and palatable creep feed is needed from day 14 to improve weaning weights.


Efficient and humane piglet processing controls

Clean well maintained and effective protocols for teeth clipping, tail docking and iron injecting should be in place. Poor teeth clipping is a major cause of joint ill.