Advice on coping with larger litters

An increase in sow performance and larger litter sizes in the English industry is highlighting challenges concerning weaning and rearing the extra pigs which are being born, says BPEX knowledge transfer manager Angela Cliff.

Writing in the latest BPEX blog, Ms Cliff (pictured) urged producers to visit the BPEX practical pig app for guidance on colostrum management, pointing out how important it was to ensure all piglets drink adequate colostrum to get off to a good start and to make sure that sows are milking properly.

“We’re also working with one producer who is focusing on recording and analysing data to ensure he selects the more milky sows to breed from to help rear the larger litters they produce,” she said, adding that the BPEX farrowing disc was another tool now being used by many producers to help keep tabs on which sows have farrowed, when they might need assisting and when colostrum is likely to be available for split suckling.

“Other areas to look at include ensuring optimum temperatures in creep areas and towel drying small piglets to reduce the chance of chilling,” she said. “Then, a longer-term option to consider is reducing sow numbers, to leave some empty farrowing pens free for nurse sows if needed to help rear the extra piglets.”

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