Farrowing Management (Part 1)

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UNDERSTANDING SOW FARROWING PROCESS

“Good management in the farrowing house is the key to the successful rearing of healthy pigs and low pre-weaning mortality”

Farrowing production target for 2016-2017

Average total pigs born = 15 pigs/sow
Average pigs born alive = 14 pigs/sow
Average pigs weaned = 12.5 pigs/sow
Pre-weaning mortality < 10%
Average weaning weight 6.5 kg@ 21 days
Average litter weight gain = 2.8-3.0 kg/day
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Figure 1 and 2 show no. of pigs born alive 15&17 piglets.

How does sow farrowing process start?

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Figure 3 show farrowing process diagram.

Gestation Length

– Average gestation length in sow is 115 days (115+/-4 days).
– Gilts and large litter size sows are tend to have a shorten gestation length.
– Small litter size sows are tend to have a longer gestation length.

3 Stages of the farrowing process in sows

Pre-farrowing period

– 10-14 days prior to the due date.
– Development of mammary glands and swelling vulva.
– Teat enlargement occurs, can see clearly the veins supplying the udder.
– Reduce appetite.
– Standing up and lying down.
– Chewing and moving the bedding around.
– Show making bed behavior.
– Piglets will delivery within 12 hours, milk is secreted into mammary gland (use gentle hand & finger massage).
– Slight mucous discharge on the vulva lips.
– See small round pellet of feces, called meconium.
– Piglets are getting ready to be pushed out of the uterus.

The farrowing process

– This process may take 3-4 hours.
– Piglets are usually delivered in every 15 minutes.
– Farrowing assistant must pay more attention to the sows that have problem at last farrowing process and old parity sows.
– Administer oxytocin to farrowing sows those deliver 6th-7th piglets at 20-30 IU/sow.
– NSAID injection such as Paracetamol, Dichlofenac, Tolfedine or Flunixin 2 days consecutively is recommended.
– Inject fast action antibiotic such as Ceftiofur sodium.
– If sow trying to push out the piglets but no piglets come out, farrowing assistants have to make decision to do farrowing assist.

Delivery of the placenta

– ¾ of farrowing process.
– Sows will call piglets to sucking her milk.
– After the placenta has been delivered, there will a slight/sometime heavy discharge for the 2-3days.
– Wash and clean vulva area, udder and floor with mild disinfectants after farrowing process done is the most recommended.
– Normal farrowed sows with normal udder, they will eat well and no fever.
– Farrowed sows those show MMA symptoms, they will have longer and heavy discharge, eat less, got fever. Fast action antibiotics must be use for treatment such as Ceftiofur sodium.
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Figure 4 show healthy piglets before wean.
To reduce the percentage of stillborn piglets and MMA in sows, farmers are advised to understand sow farrowing process as above guidelines. For the next issue, we will understand the farrowing problem and how to overcome it. See you once again in “Farrowing Management (Part 2): What to do when sows are having farrowing problems?“, Thank you.

Author: Dr. Paiboon Sungnak, D.V.M.
InterCons 3P Co., Ltd.
Paiboon_sungn@intercons3p.com

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