Monday, November 27, 2017
A three-step approach for spotting sick sows. A three-pronged approach to observing sows can help identify illness, lower mortality and increase productivity. When more attention is given to pigs,taking a closer look during farrowing, gestation and lameness can reveal potential problems before they become serious.When staff are trained to look and respond to signs of sickness quickly, producers can improve animal well-being and their bottom line in one move. Farrowing watchfulness. Farm staff should regularly check to see how the gilt or sow adjusts to being in a farrowing crate and whether she is eating and drinking, cleaning the feeder, or is in distress. Most operations have someone in the room during the farrowing process, checking the sow regularly. If too much time passes between pigs being born (more than 20 or 30 minutes), someone should manually check the sow. Post-farrowing care. Make sure all the afterbirth has passed and that the sow is well and eating normally — especially during lactation,also check that sows are comfortable and monitor their body condition, especially at warmer times of the year. At some farms rectal temperature is checked routinely at 24 hours post-farrowing to make sure there is no residual complications and that she’s properly cleaned. Uterine infections will show up on temperatures of 103 degrees or more. If a sow has a high temperature, it will be put off from eating and drinking, which will affect milk production. Eliminate lameness. More than 50% of sow deaths are caused by lameness, but early intervention and aggressive treatment could reduce that figure significantly. In a 2,500-sow operation if you’re not treating 8 to 10 sows on a daily basis, you’re probably not treating enough. Lameness can be caused by housing, diseases, injury, nutrition, environmental issues or genetics. Check for sows that have difficulty standing or rising, and if animals shift their weight or tap their feet, look for swelling, cuts or bleeding. If an animal avoids the group or is walking slowly thats an indicator to check them out more closely.