Newborn pigs have a better survival chance if they arrive in a clean, sanitized farrowing facility. In addition, most producers feel that a break between farrowing reduces disease buildup. Many producers, however, farrow continuously to maximize use of expensive facilities. They must do a top job of cleaning and sanitizing.
A steam cleaner or high-pressure sprayer can be used successfully to clean the farrowing house. Adding a detergent helps remove organic matter. A disinfectant can be applied after cleaning. Cleaning also can be done with a shovel and broom. Floors can be scrubbed using a solution of one pound of lye and 30 gallons of water.
Some producers fumigate, especially those who have had a consistent scours problem in a central house. Directions should be followed carefully and precautions taken to avoid accidents with fumigation.
In addition, the sow should be washed with soap and warm water immediately prior to being put into the farrowing pen.
A good environment;
Individual attention from the producer at this point pays off with
more live pigs. The amount of labor available may determine how much
time you spend in the farrowing house. One person in charge of the farrowing
works well in larger operations. Attendance at farrowing will pay off
in more live pigs but may not be economically feasible. Tables 2 and
3 indicate the scope of piglet mortality and the large proportion of
deaths occurring the first few days after farrowing.
Transmissible gastroenteritis 30.9 percent
Management first few days after farrowing
Ear-notching is a good practice even in commercial herds. (See MU publication G2505, Universal Ear Notching System for Pigs.) This identification helps select replacement animals from top litters and gives a check on age when pigs reach market weight.
There are many good sources of iron that can be used to prevent anemia. Iron-dextran injected in the muscle is an effective method. Injections in the neck or forearm are preferred to injecting in the ham. Common levels are 150-200 milligrams of iron as iron-dextran, usually given the first 2 to 3 days after birth. Don't give overdoses of iron because it may induce shock. Iron also can be mixed in the feed or in the drinking water. Supplying uncontaminated soil in the pig area is another method of supplying iron but is not used much in today's confinement systems.
Checking the sow's temperature immediately after birth and each 12 hours the first two or three days helps head off problems. This has proven particularly helpful in initiating early treatment for MMA. Temperatures of 104 degrees F and above indicate some action is needed.
Light birth weight pigs present a difficult management problem. Table 4 indicates nearly 60 percent of pigs born under 2 pounds will perish. Table 5 indicates that with extra care and nutrient supplementation, many of these pigs can be saved.
Table 4. Relationship of birth weight and survival1. Weight range (pounds)
No. of pigs Weight distribution of population (percent) Survival (percent)
Management during lactation
In treating common scours, orally administered drugs are usually more effective than injections. You should use a drug effective against the bacterial strain on your farm.
A dry, warm, draft-free environment is of primary importance in reducing scours. Sanitation is also very important in reducing the incidence of baby pig scours.
Other diseases such as transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE) and swine dysentery may cause more serious diarrhea problems. Contact your local veterinarian if diarrhea persists or does not respond to treatment.
Castration. Boar pigs can be castrated any time before they are 4 weeks old. There is less shock on them at an early age and many producers do this chore the first week.
Creep feeding. In addition to sows' milk, pigs need a creep feed to make maximum gain through weaning. Provide a fresh creep feed at one week of age in a place where pigs can get away from the sow.
A creep ration should be high-quality, complete mixed feed that is eaten readily. Good creep rations can be purchased or mixed on the farm. When creep rations are formulated and mixed on the farm, take particular care to use a high-energy palatable mixture that meets the pig's nutrient needs.
Getting pigs to eat adequate amounts of a creep ration is often a problem. Place the creep feeder in a warm, dry, well-lighted area. Feed small amounts, and feed frequently to keep the ration fresh. Sprinkling feed on the floor or placing it in a shallow pan may help pigs start to eat. Pelleted feeds are usually eaten more readily than meal.
Weaning pigs. Where good management is practiced, pigs are consistently weaned successfully when three to six weeks old in Missouri. Time of weaning depends somewhat on care, facilities and production schedules. Weaning under five weeks of age requires more skill and attention. Warm, dry facilities free from draft are essential.
Pigs weighing 15 pounds or more generally can be weaned successfully regardless of age if they are eating well. It is extremely important to have a dry, heated, well-ventilated, well-insulated house available for pigs weaned early, particularly in bad weather.
Don't start pigs in large groups. Small groups of 20 to 25 head per pen do best. Allow 3 to 4 square feet of space for each pig. Sort pigs according to size and weight.
Parasite control. Monitor your parasite problems by analysis of worm eggs in manure and slaughter checks. Some confinement units have minimal problems with internal parasites. Several good products are available. Recommendations for parasite control are subject to change. Check carefully to see that all products used are current and that limitations on time of use prior to slaughter is observed.
Heavy milk producing sows have difficulty eating enough feed to maintain their condition. More frequent feeding, pelleting and adding fat are techniques to increase energy intake.