Close Management Can Reduce Tight Pre-Weaning Mortality

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 2299. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.
calendar icon 9 November 2006
clock icon 3 minute read
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Farm-Scape, Episode 2299

A production manager with Big Sky Farms says swine producers can slash their pre-weaning losses by matching the right piglet to the right sow. The loss of piglets prior to weaning can range anywhere from a low of five percent to as high as 16, 17 or 18 percent.

Reducing pre-weaning mortality will be explored next week in Saskatoon as part of Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium 2006. Big Sky Farms production manager Richard Johnson says the first 12 to 24 hours of life is critical.

The biggest reason any piglet dies through, in pre-weaning mortality is being laid on. So we have a sow weighing somewhere around 250 kilos and they don't really notice if a piglet's weighing one and a half kilos and they're laid on it.

In our case, we're losing about 57 percent of our total deaths through pre-weaning mortality get laid on. The rest is various other reasons, some just because they're too small and they're and they're not big enough to survive and that accounts for around somewhere around 12 percent in our system and then a few various other reasons across the board.

How do we reduce that? One is, the piglet gets laid on quite often because it's just hungry and that happens in the first few days of life more often than not so we make sure he's got food in his belly.

Various ways of doing that is making sure we've got good competition at the udder, not too many pigs on some sows, making sure we're matching the right piglets to the right udders to the right sow, make sure we get lots of colostrum into their bellies, make sure they've got a good environment to thrive in.

With regards to small pigs, small pigs may need some colostrum through a bottle or a syringe. It all revolves around the first 24 hours of life to reduce pre-weaning mortality.

Johnson notes each day the piglet survives increases its chances of surviving another day. He recommends focusing on the areas where the most pigs can be saved and that's preventing them from being laid on.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

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