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Garth Pig Stockmanship Standards

Enhancing feed intake during lactation

Section: Stockmanship Standards

Enhancing Feed Intake During Lactation

Enhancing Feed Intake During Lactation
?1. Healthy Sow Check for the:
Absence of disease - mastitis, lameness, gastric ulcer
Absence of parasites - Mange, Ascaris and other worms.
Absence of oedema of the udder (fluid)
Clean farrowing house - All-in/All-out and good breeding controls
?2. Gestation Feed Intake There is a negative relationship between feeding the dry sow and feed intake when lactating. The more sows eat per day in gestation the less they will consume per day in lactation.
?3. Monitoring of Feed Intake Use a feeding curve. However, ensure you know the actual volume/density of feed being fed. Weigh out a scoop on a regular basis. Minimise the number of stockpeople feeding lactating sows and ensure that they all use the same feeding scale. Record the feeding scale as this forces discipline.
Note volume and weight relationships vary depending on milling and type of feed.
?4. Number of Times Feed Twice is commonly practised. Three times will enhance intake but may also increase risk of trauma and trampling of the piglets. Note avoid mid-day feeding in the summer-time as feed increases the sow's body temperature. Wet feeding the lactating sow may produce good results. Ad lib feeding should be considered.
?5. Type of Ration Fed Single ration as compared with two rations. Ideal lactation ration of 18% protein and 14 MJ DE per kg. Lysine concentration of > 1% is required. Increasing the protein consumption increases weaning weights, increasing the energy reduces weaning to service intervals. Note with crystalline lysine, other amino-acids may become limiting, in particular valine and threonine. To enhance amino-acid intake, top-dress with fish meal at 150 g per day.
?6. Palatability? Keep the food clean by having good storage controls and feed bin hygiene.
Note changes in diet specifications. Pigs have very sensitive noses. Ad-lib feeding is not yet available in the farrowing house. Note trough design. Avoid mycotoxins in feed.
?7. Water Supply A shortage of water will reduce feed intake. The lactating sow needs a flow rate of 2 litres per minute. At the peak of lactation she may drink more than 40 litres per day (10 gallons). Enhancing water supplies in the farrowing house will significantly reduce sow deaths associated with cystitis and pyelonephritis. Wet feeding has greatly assisted several farms.
?8. Design of the Feed Trough Ensure the feed is accessible, Ensure no feed is wasted. Wasted feed results in flies and expense. Troughs with lips and difficult corners may result in mouldy feed which reduce palatability. Many troughs are too small for the large volumes of food consumed in the latter stages of lactation.
?9. Temperature of Farrowing House Ideally run at 16-18°C. Increased farrowing house temperatures reduces feed intake. With farrowing house temperatures at around 24°C the sow requires drip cooling. Some farrowing houses run hotter than 18°C because of poor creep design. The use of heat creep mats may help feed intake as it can help to reduce the room temperature.
?10. Stockmanship Quiet and attentive stockpeople are needed. Good attention to sow behaviour. The playing of music helps create a calm atmosphere.
?11. Floor Type Cooling (heat conductive) floors can enhance feed intake in warm climate
?12. Breed of Pig Ensure you use genotypes which have good appetites and good mothering abilities. Beware of selecting from mothers with poor lactation feed intakes and poor weaning weights/numbers.


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Buy Pig Stockmanship Standards Extracted from Garth Pig Stockmanship Standards*
written by Dr John Carr.

You can buy this book HERE
*Published by 5M Enterprises Limited

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