Farmscape for November 20, 2023
A Technical Services Manager with PIC says what happens within the first day of life will determine how well a newborn piglet will do through its entire life.
"Day 1 Piglet Care: Get the Biggest Bang for your Buck," was among the topics discussed earlier this month as part of Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium 2023.
Kendall Weger, a Technical Services Manager with PIC, says what happens on day one sets the stage for the piglets that we're going to be weaning and it affects the sow's performance in subsequent liters so it's important to make sure the piglets are warm and dry and that they get their colostrum, that first milk, and that the sows are also well cared for.
So, first we want to make sure we have the best sows possible coming into the farrowing room.
It's really critical on any sow farm to control your body condition so that sows are in an ideal body condition coming into farrowing and we specifically want to limit sows are thin or too heavy.
Then we want to make sure we're starting to feed them appropriately a few times a day before farrowing, specifically hand fed to make sure that she has a meal as close to farrowing as possible to that she has the energy she needs to complete the farrowing process.
Also, before that sow even comes into the room, the room has to be set up perfectly.
We do a very thorough washing with hot water, we dry the rooms, and we disinfect them and then we have to make sure all the feeders are set up, all the waterers are working, the ventilation system is working properly, set at the right temperature and that we have a safe creep area for piglets so they don't get chilled after the farrowing process.
The total born can be really variable.
Many genetics now are having, on average, 16, 17 even 18 per litter so you can have upwards of 20 no problem in a litter and what we really need to focus on are the piglets that are really in that medium weight range, about 950 grams to 1.4 kilos, because they're small, they're still viable but they need help.
They can't necessarily find the teat on their own and they're more prone to be chilled so if we can focus our energy on that small population, we can make a much bigger impact on pre-wean mortality.
Weger stresses its important for the piglet to get mom's first milk as quickly as possible because both the milk and the gut of the piglet change in the first 24 hours.
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