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Acclimatising the Newborn Piglet to the Creep Area

(317) This is a vital component of farrowing management and is the one procedure that dramatically reduces the number of pigs laid on. It is possible to teach the piglet within 4 to 6 hours of birth that the creep area is the most attractive and best place to lie. This is achieved by:
  1. Removing the piglet as soon as it is born into a well bedded comfortable creep area. (At least 50mm of shavings is ideal). The piglet is fastened in the creep area for approximately 20 minutes then introduced to the udder of the sow, so it is necessary to have a barrier to hold the pigs into the creep area for this period of time. Watch out for damaged navels and bleeding. If so use navel clips.
  2. Once the piglet has had sufficient colostrum and has finished suckling it is placed back into the creep area for up to 1 hour.
  3. Piglets during the period of farrowing when they are not suckling are gently moved and fastened in the creep area for up to 1 hour.
  4. At any period of time thereafter if any piglets are seen lying next to the sow and not suckling they are immediately fastened in the creep for a short period.
  5. As soon as the sow has finished farrowing, with the piglets fastened in the creep area, she is made to stand. She will often drink and then lie down, after which the litter is allowed out again. The following morning when the sow is fed the piglets should be fastened into the creep for 40 minutes.
  6. To carry out these acclimatisation procedures it is necessary to design the creeps with a simple and practical method of confining the piglets.
  7. This system of management allows split suckling, whereby the larger pigs in the litter can be held in the creep area and the smaller ones given uninhibited access to the udder and then the procedure reversed.
  8. A second creep lamp should be provided for 24 to 36 hours post-farrowing opposite the sows udder.
  9. Provide bedding beneath this lamp to attract piglets to it.

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