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Garth Pig Stockmanship Standards

Enhancing Weaning Weights

Section: Stockmanship Standards

Enhancing Weaning Weights

Enhancing Weaning Weights
1. Feeding the Dry Sow Increase feeding from day 90 to improve piglet birth weights. A extra 200 g at birth is worth about 6 days to slaughter. Restricting the feed intake of dry sows will also help lactation intake
2. Adequate Set Up of Farrowing Accommodation The farrowing accommodation must be very clean. This is essential to reduce as much as possible the disease risk. The farrowing area must also be set up to provide heat and a drying environment to the new born piglet. The farrowing area must be draught-free. A heat source should be placed behind the back of the sow.
3. Colostrum Intake Adequate colostrum intake and colostrum quality is the key to giving the piglet a good start.
4. Prompt Feed Intake 40% of pre-weaning mortality is associated with malnutrition.
5. Feeding the Lactating Sow To ensure good growth rates in the piglets, adequate milk production is needed for each day of life. Aim for a feed consumption of around 10 kg by day 18 of lactation (gilts may only achieve 9kg). Adhere to a lactation diet. Use an agreed feeding curve and use a known quality of feed per day. Check water supply regularly, milk is 70% water. Piglets are 85% water. Lysine concentrations may have a direct influence on weaning weight, recommendations 1.1+% lysine. Note also valine at 1.3% recommended especially for gilts.
6. Hygiene To reduce disease risk. Piglets have two major options with protein intake, lay down lean tissue or produce antibodies. Hygiene is not just about set up, but cleaning while the piglets are in the room, i.e. prompt removal of scour. Have different brushes and equipment for each room to maintain all-in/all-out
7. Creep Feeding Three times a day. Use good quality creep. Start feeding from day 14 little and often. Use a creep tray (which is sterilised between batches and litters). Keep creep feed cool.
8. Proposed Growth Curve
9. All-in All-out This is the only way to attempt to achieve a reasonable standard of hygiene. You cannot pressure-wash while sows and piglets are in the room. Moving piglets is moving disease.
10. Breeding Programme Change to a budget breeding programme rather than breeding by opportunity. Only serve sufficient sows to fill the farrowing house as required. Divide farrowing area into useable blocks, i.e. 24 day average weaning once a week, gives a 5 week turn around.
11. Cross-fostering Very useful in the first 24-48 hours. After this time must adhere to a pre-set protocol. Many cross-fostered piglets die and take other piglets with them. Adequate identification of piglets is essential to ensure that cross-fostering is carried out effectively. Ensure piglets are evenly shared between available sows.
12. Environment for Piglet Air:
  • Temperature 30?C
  • Air speed zero
  • Outdoors check arc has no holes
  • No insulation increase LCT 5?C
  • Wet floor increases LCT 10?C
  • Slow air movement (0.2 m/sec) increases LCT by 6?C
  • Nipple 100-150mm from ground at 300 ml per min flow
  • Good quality creep feed 3 x daily from day 14
  • Use a creep feeder
  • Store creep in the cool and dry off the ground.
  • Insulated solid area required.
  • Ensure slatted area not rough.
  • Step no more than 50mm (2 in)
Control flies
Control foxes, seagulls and magpies outdoors
Fenders should fit well onto arc and ensure no piglets can escape.
13. Reduce Disease Recognise disease early and give prompt treatment.
Willingness to submit live pigs for post-mortem investigations
Adequate feed-back and vaccine programmes
Adequate medicine storage programmes
14. Age of Weaning Is the post-weaning accommodation suitable for the weight of the pigs moving into the accommodation?

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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