Body Condition of the Sow Key when Entering Farrowing

Farmscape for November 2, 2020

Feature Report 11:20 Listen

The Technical Services Manager with Hypor-Hendrix Genetics suggests the body condition of the sow is the most important factor to focus on in preparation for farrowing. Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium 2020, hosted by Sask Pork, will be held virtually with the first of five weekly sessions set for this Thursday. Among the topics will be “Practical Farrowing Management for Better Results.” Carlos Martins, the Technical Services Manager with Hypor-Hendrix Genetics, says, as the sow enters the farrowing room, body condition is critical.

Clip-Carlos Martins-Hypor-Hendrix Genetics:
On farm we should take an individual approach in order to recover the body condition lost during lactation and we must do this in the stage of gestation. That’s where it all starts, so that is the key point. In the second stage of gestation, with the sows already in proper condition, we don’t want to overfeed. This is an extra cost, this can reduce the performance in lactation and low feed intake and we can also compromise good mammary development. Finally, in the third stage, we must support higher birthweights and prevent sows from losing weight. Basically, in gestation, we want to ensure the production of an adequate number of piglets with a good body weight, properly developed mammary glands for optimum production of milk and colostrum and achieve a body condition that supports a good performance in lactation. So, in my opinion, the key factor is definitely body condition.

Martins says the recommended target for gilts at farrowing is 18 to 20 millimeters of backfat, because lactation is especially demanding for this category, and between 16 and 18 millimeters for sows. He says sows that are too fat or that are too skinny need to be avoided.

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