Farrowing and piglet management

How is farrowing induced?
IM prostaglandin from day 112 onwards causes farrowing 20-30 hours later
What is the benefit of synchronised farrowing?
Prepare farrowing pens, predictable, supervision easier and more reliable
When does the pre-farrowing period start?
10 – 14 days before farrowing
What are the signs farrowing is going to happen soon?
Mammary gland development, teat enlargement, udder vein enlargement, vulva swelling
What are the signs farrowing is imminent?
Restless, inappetitant, chewing bedding, milk secretion, vulva mucous
When is milk secreted?
12 hours before farrowing
How long does farrowing take?
3-8 hours
How long between each piglet during farrowing?
10-20 mins
Describe a runt
Very small, hunched back, bulbous skull and squeakier
What are the problems with runts?
Do not grow well, often die and are sickly
What is the fate of runts?
Culled or given away
How long does it take to deliver the placenta?
1-4 hours
When is teat order established?
Within first few hours
What causes teat necrosis?
within 18hrs of birth some teat sphincters on teats in front of the umbilical cord are traumatised by rough floors and die
What about the sow predisposes teat necrosis?
Poor teat positioning
How can teat necrosis be managed?
Use more straw bedding if possible
When does the gut begin to close?
6 hours
What is the range of colostrum intake by newborn piglets?
What is the recommended minimum colostrum per piglet?
150-280g per kg of piglet
How often does nursing take place?
every 50-60 mins
What does the sow require for milk let down?
stimulation from the piglets
what helps the piglets find the teat?
Vocalisation and odours from the mammary and birth fluids
Describe the first stage of suckling
Piglets compete for teats then massage around respective teat with snout and sow grunts slow regular intervals
How long does the competing/ massaging take? What signals its end?
1 minute until milk let down begins
What happens in the third phase of suckling when milk is starting to be let down?
Piglets suckle with slow mouth movements and sows grunting increases
How long does phase 3 last?
20 secs
What do the sows grunts coincide with?
Release of oxytocin from her pituitary
Describe phase 4 of suckling
Milk flow, rapid suckling of piglets, sow grunts lower and faster in blocks of three or four
How long does phase 4 last?
10 – 20 secs
When and how are the mammary glands tested?
12 – 24 hours after farrowing apply pressure to the teat area until point of response
How can you test for early oedema?
Press a finger into the gland and see if it leaves and impression
When are the first signs of lactation problems normally shown?
4-6 hours after farrowing
Describe a sow with lactation problems
Swollen and discoloured glands. Possible fever, off food and laid on belly
Which problems can lead to mastitis?
Oedema and congestion
How is mastitis treated?
small doses of oxytocin every 4-6hrs on 4 occasions. Artificially rear piglets
What can be given if early mastitis is seen to prevent it worsening?
Injection of long acting antibiotic eg penicillin, amoxycillin or OTC
When is it possible to carry out cross fostering?
First 24-48hrs
What may happen after 24hrs and why?
Fighting between piglets due to foreign smell and pecking order established
Which piglets should be fostered?
larger ones
What is the maximum temperature for sows during farrowing?
20 degrees C
What temperature requirement do the piglets have in the first three weeks?
30 dropping 0.5 each day until three weeks
How is sow feed managed during lactation?
Restricted early on to maximise intake in later lactation
What heating method is common in farrowing pens?
Lamps to localise the heat for the piglets without affecting the sow
What stresses do piglets go through during weaning?
Rapid change in diet from milk to pellets and mixing with other piglets
How long would natural weaning take and is this gradual?
gradual over 12-17 weeks
What age are piglets weaned?
21-34 days
what is the benefit of segregated 7 days or medicated 14 days early weaning?
Better piglet health, improve feed efficiency and growth rate
What are disadvantages of early weaning?
Inconsistent growth, decreased post weaning gain, abnormal feed intake and weaker immune systems
what is the EU legislation regarding weaning?
Must not be below 28 days unless the health of the dam or piglets is compromised,
What are the conditions for allowing weaning 7 days earlier than the EU law?
If the housing is specialised and emptied/disinfected thoroughly to prevent spread of disease
What is all in -all out system?
Wean all piglets in a house at the same time to allow for proper cleaning before the next batch
At what weight should the piglets be weaned?
Have the piglets already been introduced to feed at weaning?
Yes creep feed present
What are piglets injected with? and how much?
100-200mg dose of iron
Where is the iron injected?
Behind the ear or hind limb
Why do piglets need iron supplements?
Low deposits at birth, high growth rate and can’t get it from soil
What percentage of iron requirement is provided by the mothers milk?
When is the iron injection given?
1-7 days of age
What other method of iron supplementation is possible?
What is the purpose of needle teeth trimming?
Prevent damage to teats and facial wounds to other piglets
What is the maximum amount that can be docked from the tail?
How is tail docking carried out?
Hot blade or sharp pliers
What is the problem with tail docking?
Can lead to the development of neuromas
What is the benefit and problems with oral iron supplementation?
Some positive effects but take longer to absorb from gut