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Key Points to Maintaining Longevity in the Breeding Female

  • (236) Use the correct female, that is, one expressing maximum hybrid vigour.
  • Select or purchase females with sound strong legs, good teats and not too heavy hams.
  • Avoid gilts showing any signs of leg weakness e.g., standing on their toes, the back legs tucked under, the front legs bent or the pasterns dropped.
  • Do not breed from a female that is too lean. Maintain at least 17mm of fat at the P2 measurement by point of mating, particularly in the gilt.
  • Do not serve the gilt at less then 210 days of age. Gilts served too early will still be maturing into their second pregnancy. Equally do not serve too late (240 days) otherwise body size will increase.
  • Do not allow excessive body weight to develop during the first pregnancy.
  • Provide the pregnant gilt with exercise at least during the first half of the pregnancy if possible.
  • Avoid mouldy feeds.
  • Do not cull a sow if her first two litters have been poor. Review management procedures.
  • Feed the sow from three days post farrowing, during lactation, and to point of mating to appetite.
  • Do not serve maiden gilts or first litter gilts with heavy boars. This can precipitate leg problems.
  • Identify sick or lame sows early and remove to a well bedded hospital pen. Many will simply recover in a better environment.
  • Good nutrition is vital.
Remember that management, feeding, housing design and a comfortable well lit environment are under your control and they will have a major effect on the viability, health and production of the sow.

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