Industry Partners

Prairie Swine Centre is an affiliate of the University of Saskatchewan

Prairie Swine Centre is grateful for the assistance of the George Morris Centre in developing the economics portion of Pork Insight.

Financial support for the Enterprise Model Project and Pork Insight has been provided by:

Author(s): Dawn Friesen
Publication Date: January 1, 2004
Reference: Proceedings of the 2004 Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium
Country: Canada


A hyper-prolific sow can produce 60+ piglets in her lifetime. It requires good management practice to obtain the 27+ weaned pigs per sow per year. New gilts brought into the herd must be managed to obtain maximum reproduction. Proper estrus stimulation should be performed with a mature boar for a minimum of 10 minutes per day. Gilts should be bred at 16 mm back fat at 210 days of age and no less than 125 kg. This prevents breakdown of body reserves for energy. These gilts should be kept on a gilt developer diet rather than a regular gestating sow diet. Regular techniques can be followed for service timing and management of wean to estrus interval. Movement and mixing of gilts should be minimized, and back fat should be measured at breeding, 60 days into gestation, and 110 days into gestation. The sow should have 19 mm at breeding, and if not the sows feeding should be changed to alter body condition. Targets at lactation should be no more than a 3 mm loss of back fat and for the piglets to gain 240 g/day for 21 days. Gilts and sows should be grouped by farrowing history and/or body condition. There should be a hygienic farrowing kit kept on hand with lube, a cord, hibitane, a dish, and O.B. sleeves. Oxytocin wrapped in ice packs and needles/syringes should also be included. At entrance into the farrowing room they should not be overfed so that feed intake during lactation can be maximized. Heat lamps should be provided in the rooms to avoid chilled piglets, but adequate fresh airflow is necessary. Individual sow cards help to monitor each sow in the room. Farrowing assistance should be given to sows that are having difficulties to avoid a lot of stillbirths (hygienic procedures should be adhered to). Fresh born piglets should be dried, put on a dry mat underneath a heat lamp, and fed colostrum immediately. If a sow or gilt appears to be nervous and unease, place the piglets in a ring under the lamp and only release them once the sow has calmed down. After farrowing, oxytocin should be given to clear the sow of any more debris. Hyper-prolific sows require a great deal of attention to reach maximum potential. Cross fostering should be done within the first 24 hours. Split suckling can help the smaller piglets to catch up if they are in a large litter. Nurse sows should have adequate body condition to support the fall-behind piglets.

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