Pig Health

Know the why: Informed caregivers can make a difference

March 17, 2015

Let’s face it, everyday tasks at our jobs can get repetitious. It’s easy to fall into a workplace routine and find yourself impulsively completing tasks as if they have become second nature. We often become so efficient at these chores, we forget why we are doing them. This habitual behavior is apparent in every field, including the pork industry.

When we stop focusing on the why, we can become disengaged which can result in oversights. Every task is important when caring for newborn piglets. There is no room for mistakes. To ensure pig caregivers are providing the best environment and care during these highly-critical times, it’s important for caregivers to know and remember why each task is necessary, not just the how.

By empowering caregivers with knowledge and training, farmers and veterinarians can help ensure newborn piglets get the best possible start, allowing them to thrive, develop and reach weaning weights successfully.

Through my experience I have learned there are three key protocols that caregivers should follow to help successfully reduce pre-weaning mortality rates.

  • Farrowing assistance
    • Understand and identify abnormalities during farrowing
    • Ensure piglets are arriving approximately every 15 minutes
    • Quickly manage farrowing problems as they occur
    • Provide assistance, if needed
  • Warming pigs
    • Dry piglets immediately
    • Give them quick access to a heat source to retain healthy body temperatures
  • Accessing colostrum
    • Maintain teat health of sows
    • Ensure piglets are accessing colostrum in a timely fashion to retain antibodies vital to disease prevention.

Webinars offer a convenient way to provide on-farm training and reminders for caregivers. Learn more about the Day One Pig Care webinar or find information on upcoming webinars at the PorkNetwork.