Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Factors associated with preweaning mortality on commercial pig farms in England and Wales
  1. K. M. O'Reilly, BSc1,
  2. M. J. Harris, BSc, MSc, PhD2,
  3. M. Mendl, BA, PhD2,
  4. S. Held, BSc, PhD2,
  5. C. Moinard, MSc, PhD3,
  6. P. Statham, BSc, MSc2,
  7. J. Marchant-Forde, BSc, PhD, CBiol, MIBiol, USDA-ARS4 and
  8. 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.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.