Sound management will get your piglets through winter

As temperatures drop, winter management practices in farrowing barns and nurseries become critical components of daily protocols. Rick Purnell provides a short insight on how to keep your piglets productive throughout the colder months.
calendar icon 30 November 2017
clock icon 3 minute read

Newborn piglets do not have much inborn heat capacity or energy reserves so what little energy they have can be quickly spent in attempting to keep warm. The exhaustion of metabolic energy used to keep warm depletes energy available for growth and immune response. It is imperative that employees regularly check that mats and heating systems are working as designed and that cold air drafts are reduced or eliminated to ensure piglet energy is focused on weight-gain and health.

Proper nutrition is also essential, according to Dr. Darrell Neuberger, technical services veterinarian with Tonisity Inc. He says that the beneficial effects of early nutrition stay with pigs, too.

Multiple studies demonstrate that when pigs get started right, they wean healthier and heavier,” Neuberger says. “Managed properly, this good health helps minimise medical and feed costs and helps pigs finish economically and on time.”

Neuberger recommends incorporating Px, an isotonic protein drink for pigs, starting at Day 2. It has proteins and key amino acids and is specifically formulated to enhance cellular function in the small intestine. With improved small intestine health, pigs absorb more nutrients than they would otherwise. Incorporating Px again at weaning and at transport, helps ensure pigs continue to do well during these stressful events.

Birth, weaning and transport are the three most stressful periods for pigs,” Neuberger says. “Cold temperatures add to this stress. If we ensure pigs get sound nutrition their bodies can fully absorb, the likelihood of getting more healthy pigs to market increases.”

Industry research supports Neuberger’s recommendations. In general, it notes that every pound pigs gain at weaning can lead to around four additional pounds at finishing.

As reported by Rick Purnell, RPR Company.

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