Veterinary Record 159:193-196 doi:10.1136/vr.159.7.193

Factors associated with preweaning mortality on commercial pig farms in England and Wales

  1. L. E. Green, BVSc, MSc, PhD, MRCVS, MECPH1
  1. 1 Ecology and Epidemiology Group, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL
  2. 2 Department of Clinical Veterinary Science, University of Bristol, Langford House, Langford, Bristol BS40 5DU
  3. 3 Welfare and Behaviour Group, Scottish Agricultural College, Bush Estate, Penicuick, Midlothian EH26 0PH
  4. 4 Livestock Behaviour Research Unit, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA
  1. Ms O'Reilly's present address is Centre for Epidemiology and Risk Analysis, Veterinary Laboratories Agency, New Haw, Addlestone, Surrey KT15 3NB
  2. Dr Harris is also at Ecology and Epidemiology Group, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL


Data from 67 pig farms with a variety of farrowing systems were used to identify factors associated with preweaning mortality in British pig herds. The median mortality reported by the farmers was 10·7 per cent (interquartile range 8·5 to 14 per cent). There was a significantly higher mortality when the pigs were weaned when they were older. A multivariable Poisson model was developed into which the types of farrowing system on each farm and the age at weaning were forced. Factors associated with a lower preweaning mortality rate were insulating the farrowing building, providing extra heat at farrowing, giving the piglets iron injections, dipping their navels, using fan ventilation and using artificial lighting systems. Factors associated with a higher mortality rate were a later weaning age, the use of infra-red lamps rather than other forms of supplementary heat, and the use of a creep without any bedding.

    Sign up for job alerts

    Vet Record Careers features a comprehensive database of vet jobs.
    Browse for your next job, or set personalised job alerts so you hear about vacancies as soon as they go online.
    Find out more at Vet Record Careers

    Free Sample Issue

    This recent issue is free to all users to allow everyone the opportunity to see the full scope and typical content of the Veterinary Record.
    View free sample issue >>

    Navigate This Article