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Timely Colostrum Intake Critical to Piglet Health

A Technical Services Manager with PIC says the importance of providing the newly born piglet with colostrum, mom's first milk, as quickly as possible after birth cannot be over stated."Day 1 Piglet Care" was among the topics discussed as part of Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium 2023 in Saskatoon.

Kendall Weger, a Technical Services Manager with PIC, says the newly farrowed piglet faces a host of health challenges so what happens on day one of life sets the stage for the piglets’ performance throughout its life.

Quote-Kendall Weger-PIC:

First is risk of chilling.When they come out, they're going to drop body temperature immediately and especially if they stay wet.If they don't receive colostrum quickly, the first risk is of chilling and becoming nonviable which means they would have to be euthanized.

The biggest cause of piglet deaths is lay ons and that's across the industry.By making sure we have piglets that receive colostrum and are viable and that we have the sow set up as well as possible, the farrowing room, the crate, the feed, the water, that's only going to increase our chances of our piglet survivability and having a healthy sow come out at weaning.

It's 100 percent critical that piglets receive this colostrum because this gives them antibodies so they have an active immune system because they're basically born with no immune system.They have no protection from any health challenges unless they're receiving mom's first milk.

Really, we want to try to get that in within the first 24 hours because, not only does the milk change but also the gut of the piglet changes so they can't absorb this after a 24-hour period.We need to make sure that every hour that we're on the farm with our animals that we're focusing on colostrum intake.

Weger notes many genetics are now capable of producing upwards of 20 piglets in a litter and what we really need to focus on is the piglets in that medium weight range, about 950 grams to 1.4 kilos, because they're small but still viable so they need a little extra attention.

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