Improving neonatal piglet survival is a key focus for pig farmers

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© Gettyimages
© Gettyimages

Related tags piglet farrowing sow neonatal

Improving neonatal piglet survival is a key focus for pig farmers today and good farm and health management, along with optimal housing conditions are positively associated with sow and piglet performance parameters, says a leading pig welfare and housing specialist.

Given the right conditions, sows are highly-prolific and can nurse their piglets efficiently, says Vivi Aarestrup Moustsen, chief scientist at the Danish Pig Research Centre, SEGES.

She will be speaking about the influence of the rearing environment on sow and piglet productivity at our event, FeedNavigator Summit 2020: Young Animal Nutrition (YAN20),​ taking place in Amsterdam on 3-4 March 2020.

“Sows are high performing athletes. We expect them to be agile, to give birth to large and viable litters, to produce a lot of milk, and to stay healthy and to do so in consecutive parities.

“However, for the sows to do this, we need to understand both the behavior and the physical requirements of sows and their piglets and how caretakers can ensure optimal rearing conditions for those aniamls on a daily basis,”​ argues Aarestrup Moustsen.

It is important in design of production equipment – whether that is a farrowing crate, a feed-trough, or a milk cup for neonatal piglets, etc., to know the dimensions of the pigs expected to perform in farm facilities, she says.

To that end, the swine housing expert was involved in research that measured the dimensions of 400 Danish cross-bred sows and the position of their teats, while also carrying out video analysis of a sub-sample of sows to learn how much additional space they need for both standing up and lying down. The researchers also measured the dimensions of 100 suckling piglets to see how they fit along the udder.

Aarestrup Moustsen will discuss the implications of such a dataset at YAN20.

YAN20 conference outline

Taking place now in less than two months, YAN20​ is taking stock of the newest developments in piglet and broiler chick feeding. Experts from industry and leading research institutes will share their insights into starter diets, how to ensure optimum formulation for broiler chick and piglet diets. 

Day one of the two-day conference will see talks on gut health development, how it is linked with ingredient choice, feed form, and particle size; speakers will also present on the nutritional steering of the gut microbiome without antibiotics, while a presentation on slow growing birds will stress the need for greater understanding of the interrelationship between nutrition and the immune system for that type of production model.

The findings of new research exploring the effects of feed additives in early sow gestation on fetal development and piglet birth weight will be disclosed on day two, along with insights into the lifelong impact of feeding breeding poultry and their progeny with functional dietary components.

The conference also sees an expert from ForFarmers reveal that feed manufacturer's response to regulatory pressures such as reduced copper in EU piglet diets.

There will be a panel discussion on the pressing issue of finding alternative, effective strategies to zinc oxide in piglet feed.

A leading UK based contract broiler farmer, with clients globally, will outline what he sees as the ideal rearing and feeding conditions for broiler chicks.

Register to attend here

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