Thursday, December 9, 2021
HomeFarmweek NewsHealthy sows are able to produce enough colostrum for 40 piglets

Healthy sows are able to produce enough colostrum for 40 piglets

A leading Danish veter-inarian has confirmed that healthy sows have the ability to produce enough colostrum for 40 piglets.

The fact that they have difficulty feeding half this number successfully reflects their poor health status.

Soren Spandet Thielsen, the owner of the specialist pig veterinary practice OE-VET A/S,

also stressed the need for pig farmers in Northern Ireland to put an absolute focus on maintaining the health status of their sows.

He was speaking at a recent pig meeting in Cookstown, hosted by Glenmarshal Sires.

The Danish veterinarian com-mented: “Large numbers of Irish sows are suffering from undiagnosed bladder and ur-inary tract infections. These are leading to a number of conditions, including a mother’s inability to stand up effectively after farrowing.

“The presence of these infections can be easily discerned if post mortem checks are carried out at time of slaughter by a herd’s veterinarian.

“The same principle holds when it comes to identifying chronic stomach ulcers in finished pigs. I estimate that approximately 45 per cent of finished pigs in Ireland are affected in this way,” Mr Thielson added.

“Only when a farmer knows that problems of this nature exist can they then go about fixing them.”

Where weaning is concerned, Mr Thielsen recommended that piglets should be kept on the mother for 31 days and that they should weigh at least 11kg.

He explained: “Weaning at 28 days is too early. This is because the young pig has yet to develop its own immune system by that stage.

“Healthy sows drive a sustainable pig business. When these circumstances can be achieved, antibiotic usage falls-off dramatically while growing pigs will reach their finishing weights much quicker.”

Farmers attending the meet-ing were told that they should practice an all-in/all-out policy

where finishing pigs are con-cerned.

“This approach to management acts to reduce disease spread within a herd,” Mr Thielson said.

“Water availability is also an issue on Irish pig farms. Working on the assumption that the drinking nipples are working and that they have been calibrated correctly, is an approach to management that is fraught with danger.

“All the drinking points within a pig unit must be checked regularly.”

Commenting on the pros and cons of tail docking, Mr Thielsen said that the practice can be done away with if the floor space available per pig is increased by 20 per cent.

“Poor ventilation within pens can also encourage tail biting. Pigs suffering from any form of bacterial infection should not have their tails docked,” he concluded.

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