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Garth Pig Stockmanship Standards

Nursing Patterns

Section: Stockmanship Standards

Nursing Patterns

Nursing Patterns
What attracts new-born piglets?
1 Vocalisation of sows.
2 Dark areas.
3 Afterbirth and birth fluids.
4 Movement along hair patterns.
Suckling after birth.
1 Piglets can contact the teats as quickly as 3 minutes, but average 15 minutes to contact the udder and 30 minutes to contact the teat.
2 Milk is continuously available for several hours . There is little aggression as pigs sample teats.
3 Cyclic milk ejection, approximately hourly, results in more aggression.
4 Piglets consume over 250ml of colostrum in the first 24 hours. This can be more than 25% of their own bodyweight.
Cyclic nursing and suckling (Approximately Once Every Hour)
  Sows Piglets
  Slow grunting Assemble at udder
  Increased grunt rate Nosing and teat location
  Rapid increase in grunt rate Slow sucking
  Milk flow (15 sec) Rapid sucking
  Grunting declines Slow sucking or nosing
  Sleep or change position Fall asleep
Consequences of cyclic suckling
1 Fan noise may interfere with nursing cycles
2 Piglets which miss a nursing do not eat until next bout
3 Nursing within a room is synchronised
4 Nursing can be stimulated by sound or massage
5 Post-suckling massage is related to milk yield and gut hormones
Teat order
1 Established within 3 days
2 Consistence often over 90%
3 Less stable in large litters
4 About 10% of piglets use more than one teat
5 Multiple teats more common in small litters
6 Unused teats regress
7 When sow turns over, so does the piglet teat order, it is teat specific
Consequences of a teat order
1 Stable teat orders lead to more uniform growth
2 Relative weight gain within litters depends on competition for teat
3 Evening out litters by weights (first 3 days) or selective teeth clipping reduced problem piglets
4 Unused teats produce less milk in subsequent lactation
5 Mixing after day 9 is difficult to re-make the teat order (1-2 days)
When a pig is fostered after 48 hours total litter performance is reduced.
Fostering is about two events:
Foster after day three if you want more even litters (total litter size will be reduced)
Do not foster after day three if you want to maximise total litter weight (litter may be variable)


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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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