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Managing a pig herd. SAPPO Training Course. Introduction. Each age group/development stage has special management requirements to stay healthy and produce well Breeding stock Breeding gilts Pregnant and lactating sows Boars Young stock from birth to point of sale

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Managing a pig herd l.jpg

Managing a pig herd

SAPPO Training Course


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Introduction

  • Each age group/development stage has special management requirements to stay healthy and produce well

    • Breeding stock

      • Breeding gilts

      • Pregnant and lactating sows

      • Boars

    • Young stock from birth to point of sale

      • Piglets before and after weaning

      • Weaners and growers


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Breeding stock

  • Their wellbeing and continued high production depends on

    • Housing

    • Nutrition

    • Good breeding management (service, farrowing)

    • Health care (vaccination, parasite control)


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Introducing gilts

  • Gilts are usually selected when they are 4-6 months old

  • At 6-7 months, vaccinate for E. coli and erysipelas, leptospirosis, parvovirus, with a booster 4-6 weeks later for both vaccines

  • Treat for mange and worms

  • Feed ad lib until served

  • Put them in a pen next to a mature boar to stimulate them to come on heat

  • Breed at 7-8 months, modern breeds should weigh at least 120 kg at service


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Breeding gilts and sows

  • Females come on heat every 3 weeks

  • When on heat they will stand firm to hand pressure on the middle of the back

  • Females are taken to the boar for service

  • Observe mating – the boar should remain mounted and ejaculating for at least 5 minutes

  • Remove sow after service and repeat 12 and 24 hours later – can use a different boar if available to get larger litters


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Breeding sows

  • Sow on heat stands firm to pressure

  • Normal mating


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Pregnant sows

  • Pregnancy lasts about 115 days

  • Observe served sows for signs of heat especially about 3 weeks after first service, and repeat service if necessary

  • Vaccinate with E. coli 2-3 weeks before farrowing date and treat for worms, lice and mange


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Pregnant sows

  • Check for constipation – straining, small hard faeces or none

  • Feed green feed and wet bran to prevent or correct constipation


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Farrowing

  • Put sow into farrowing pen about a week before due date and supply lots of bedding

  • Stand by during farrowing to help if needed but do not interfere if process is normal – piglets born 1-2 at a time at about 10-15 minute intervals

  • Do not break the umbilical cord

  • Can rub and dry piglets and remove membranes from face

  • Foster the bigger piglets from large litters with sows with smaller litters if necessary


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Farrowing

  • Unsupervised farrowing can lead to losses


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During lactation

  • Increase the sow’s feed to 2-3 times the normal amount, observe for weight loss and give more if necessary

  • Feed at least 3 times a day to prevent excessive intake at any one time

  • Ensure that unlimited water is available, lactating sows can drink at least 30 litres per day

  • Wean piglets at 4-6 weeks

  • Sow can be served at first heat after weaning if she is in good condition


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During lactation

  • Sow should not appear thin as piglets grow – the sow in the picture at the bottom is much too thin


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Managing the boar

  • Treat at least 4 times a year for mange, lice and worms

  • Breed from about 10 months of age

  • Let him serve a quiet sow first if possible

  • Do not overwork – not more than 3-4 services per week

  • Cull when lame, overweight, or not siring good litters

  • Avoid boar serving own daughters as it leads to inbreeding


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Managing the boar

  • A good boar is a valuable asset


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Care of piglets

  • Most piglet deaths occur in the first 3 days of life

  • Major causes are cold, starvation, accidents

    • Supply a warm creep area

    • Make sure that the piglets are suckling well

    • Provide a farrowing rail or deep straw to enable the piglets to get away from the sow so that she will not accidentally lie on them



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Deep bedding

  • Deep bedding provides warmth and protection


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Care of piglets

  • Piglets may also die as a result of infectious diseases or birth defects

    • Ensure good hygiene in the farrowing pen

    • Disinfect the navel and feet with iodine on the day of birth

    • Vaccinate and treat the sow for parasites as described before

    • Make sure that the piglets suckle as soon as possible to take in colostrum

    • Avoid inbreeding


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Suckling

  • Piglets and sow should be calm and happy

  • Piglets not suckling and hard red teats = mastitis


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Procedures

  • Injection with iron

  • Castration


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Tattooing

  • Pigs are tattooed at weaning


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Care of weaners

  • Wean at 4-6 weeks by removing sow and leaving piglets in farrowing pen for 3-5 days

  • Feed small amounts of weaner feed from 10 days before weaning

  • Restrict feed for 1-2 days after weaning to prevent over-eating; give wet feed

  • After that feed ad lib, water always available

  • Good food, good hygiene, good health management and timely treatment if necessary are the keys to success with weaners and growers


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Mixing litters

  • If possible mix piglets of the same size, age, sex

  • To prevent excessive fighting

    • Provide enough space for them to move apart

    • Make sure there is plenty of space at the feeder

    • Provide “toys” – pieces of old motor tyres, sacking, branches – to occupy them



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