Managing your Sows

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The Landrace

The landrace is a white hog of long body length, having sixteen or seventeen pairs of ribs. The arch of back is less pronounced that most breeds of swine. The head is long and narrow with a clean jowl. Ears are large and heavy; carried close to the face. There is an admirable meatiness on foot and on the rail. The rumps are long and comparatively level. The sows are prolific and satisfactory mothers. They have always been noted for their milk producing abilities.


The Duroc

The duroc, a solid red, meat type animal, is noted for its carcass characteristics and feed efficiency. Strong feet and legs make the Duroc and excellent choice for rugged commercial feeding conditions. This breed is also noted for large litters, which is a characteristic retained even when used in a crossbreeding program. Canadian Duroc’s are commonly used and a terminal sire in crossbreeding programs, as well as the third breed in rational breeding situations.


Large White

Large Whites are distinguished by their picturesque bearing, erect ears, slightly dished faces, white color, pink skins, and long deep sides. They are a rugged and hardy breed that can withstand variations in climate and other environmental factors. Their ability to cross with and improve other breeds has given them a leading role in commercial pig production systems and breeding pyramids around the world.

Care of sows and gilts during final two week before farrowing

  • Administer Swine Erysipelas vaccine two weeks before farrowing
  • Pregnant sows and gilts should be dewormed 9 days prior to farrowing date
  • 5 to 6 days before farrowing sows should be thoroughly washed and placed in a clean and disinfected farrowing pen.
  • Once in farrowing pen start reducing feed to 2.0 kgs (4.4lbs)per day
  • On the day of farrowing check to see if everything is OK. Provide bedding and heat/light in the farrowing pen.
  • Ensure that clean fresh water is always available.

Care of sow during farrowing

  • Pigs are born about 1 every 30 minutes. If the interval is longer than an hour Veterinary assistance should be sought.
  • The placenta comes off partly during farrowing and about ½ to 1 hour after birth of the last piglet.
  • Check the sows udder if she is producing sufficient milk by squeezing the teats. (Note if the teats are hard or udder is warm)
  • Check for any pus like discharge coming from the vulva
  • Most sows will not feed on the day of farrowing.
  • From the second of farrowing start gradually increasing sow feed to 1.5kg (3.3lbs.) for each piglet till the required amount is attained.

Care of dry and pregnant sows

  • Offer no feed on the day of weaning
  • Deworm sows the following day
  • Start feeding 2.5kg (5.5lbs) to each sow per day  (flushing)
  • Flush for a maximum of 6 days or until all sows in the group are bred.
  • After flushing/breeding reduce feed intake to 2.0kgs (4.4lbs) per days for 3 weeks
  • Always take the sow or gilt to the boar’s pen for breeding
  • Try to mate animals of equal size
  • Supervise all mating (proper mating ejaculation process should last at least 3 mins.)
  • Remove female quickly after the boar dismounts
  • Steaming up can begin in the 12th week of pregnancy gradually increasing feed intake by .25kg (0.55 lbs)

Newly weaned sows should be placed in groups in close proximity to the boar pen to induce heat. Sows will start displaying signs of heat 4-7 days after weaning.

Care of piglets

  • Birth- Remove dead or deformed piglets from pen and dispose of them. Tie off navel cord and treat in iodine (piglets are born one every half hour). Ensure that piglets are feeding.
  • Day 1- Clip needle teeth (8 baby teeth which can damage sows teats). Tag animal (ear notching) doc. Tails. Deworm
  • Day 3- Give iron shots, castrate males, give antibiotics if necessary
  • Day 5- Deworm if necessary
  • Day 7- Start creep feeding. Place antibiotics in feed up through the grower stage.
  • Week 4- Vaccinate against Swine Erysipelas and again at week 6
  • Week 5- Wean. Feed starter to 60lbs
  • 60lbs – switch to grower
  • 120 lbs – switch to finisher, deworm, spray for lice and mange

Check piglets daily to ensure there is no diarrhoea and piglets are healthy. Piglets should have a pinkish – red to light pink as they get older.

Pig production target