Weaning all piglets as healthy as possible

18 June 2019
7 minutes

To maximize the number of healthy piglets weaned, sow farmers employ techniques like extra milk supply and motherless rearing. Motherless rearing in a nursery contributes to rearing a higher percentage of liveborn piglets. High-quality milk substitutes facilitate piglet rearing in both sow and motherless systems.

The number of live born piglets per sow is increasing year by year. On average, there are over 14 live born piglet in a litter and for farms ranked among the top 20% in Holland this figure is as high as 15 live born piglets. Given this many liveborn piglets, it can be a challenge to rear them all up to weaning. Supplying extra milk in the farrowing room, in cups or by hand, can support the sow in weaning more piglets. In addition, motherless rearing can also aid in increasing the number of piglets weaned.

Every sow farmer aims to rear the highest possible percentage of piglets born alive having a high quality. Motherless rearing in a nursery can make a contribution to this. Seeing and experiencing when piglets do well, is motivating and gives satisfaction in work. The objective should be to wean the piglets as healthy as possible, and not as heavy as possible. Even if the piglets are lighter prior to weaning, the motherless piglets easily make up for any weight deficit later on. This is caused by a better feed intake of motherless reared piglets around time of weaning. In practice there are two ways of motherless rearing. One option is to do this in the farrowing room by mounting an crate in the compartment above the farrowing pen where the piglets can be reared. Ready-made crates that in practice work well, are Weda's Birthright Nursery and the Rescuedeck. Another option is to specifically set up a separate room/compartment for rearing these piglets.

High-quality milk substitutes

Our product range of piglet feeds contains high-quality milk substitutes that can be used to perfectly rear piglets at the sow but also in motherless rearing situations. In motherless rearing systems Nurse Milk can be be fed from 24 hours after birth up to one week after birth. From day 7 onwards, Nurse Meal can be used. If you have many liveborn piglet per litter and you would like to know more about how to rear as many of these piglets as possible, contact our specialist. Our pig specialist will explain the advantages and disadvantages of the various methods, thus enabling you to make the best choice for your farm.