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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

Managing a pig herd

SAPPO Training Course

  • 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
breeding stock
Breeding stock
  • Their wellbeing and continued high production depends on
    • Housing
    • Nutrition
    • Good breeding management (service, farrowing)
    • Health care (vaccination, parasite control)
introducing gilts
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
breeding gilts and sows
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
breeding sows
Breeding sows
  • Sow on heat stands firm to pressure
  • Normal mating
pregnant sows
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
pregnant sows8
Pregnant sows
  • Check for constipation – straining, small hard faeces or none
  • Feed green feed and wet bran to prevent or correct constipation
  • 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
  • Unsupervised farrowing can lead to losses
during lactation
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
during lactation12
During lactation
  • Sow should not appear thin as piglets grow – the sow in the picture at the bottom is much too thin
managing the boar
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
managing the boar14
Managing the boar
  • A good boar is a valuable asset
care of piglets
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
deep bedding
Deep bedding
  • Deep bedding provides warmth and protection
care of piglets18
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
  • Piglets and sow should be calm and happy
  • Piglets not suckling and hard red teats = mastitis
  • Injection with iron
  • Castration
  • Pigs are tattooed at weaning
care of weaners
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
mixing litters
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