Farrowing Systems, Auditing Best Management Practices
Birth to weaning is the most critical period in the life cycle of a pig. Farrowing practices directly impact the piglets and their performance and also the future breeding herd performance. 21 farms were audited across Canada to see the best management practices in farrowing. The farms had a 3 to 4-week weaning period. Exit weights of the nursery are similar if weaned at either of these weeks. Heat lamps and heat pads should both be used, as the lamps are used for the first few days, then to keep utility costs in check only the pads should be used afterwards. Blunt force trauma was the most common method of euthanasia, followed by the non-penetrating captive bolt Zephyr. 90% of farms used creep feed, usually 5-7 days before weaning. Body weight at weaning is not affected by creep feed, but for the piglets that consume it (4-40%), nursery performance was improved. The presentation of creep feed can be improved by using a tray feeder which is much preferred over the standard feeder.
Farrowing Systems, Auditing Best Management Practices (full article)