During a one year period, 1459 sows and gilts were treated with cloprostenol to induce farrowing during the night on a large commercial pig farm. A regular farrowing supervision programme was used during each farrowing period. The mean time from treatment to onset of farrowing was 25.7 hours (SD 5.36) and 95.3 per cent of aniamls commenced farrowing within 36 hours. There was a significant (P less than 0.001) increase in the proportion of piglets reared to weaning during the trial when compared with both the previous year and the average for the previous three years. The proportion of stillborn piglets and mortality of liveborn piglets up to weaning were significantly (P less than 0.001) reduced during the period of the trial. Similarly the number of piglets crushed by the sow was significantly (P less than 0.001) reduced. However, the proportion of piglets dying as runts increased significantly (P less than 0.001) and as a result of an isolated outbreak of scouring during one month of the trial, the number of piglets lost because of scouring also increased significantly (P less than 0.001). Several practical and economic benefits were identified as part of the new management system.
- British Veterinary Association. All rights reserved.
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