A sufficient colostrum intake in the first hours after birth is one of the most important success factors for pig performance.
In a recent article from Petra Maass and Oliver Duran, published on Pig Progress, the authors state that the first 6 hours are critical, as after 24 hours the piglets gut closes. This means that the immunoglobulins cannot be absorbed well.
In addition, the amount of colostrum the piglets consumes is important. An insufficient colostrum intake is one of the main reasons for pre-weaning mortality. Studies have shown that on average 25% of pigs with a colostrum intake below 200 g die, in pigs with a colostrum intake below 100 g mortality was as high as 65%. Based on those studies, a colostrum intake of at least 250 g per piglet is recommended, which is not easy to achieve with highly prolific sows taking into account that sows on average produce about 3 to 4 l of colostrum.
A sufficient number of functional teats (at least as many as live-born piglets) help to ensure that every pig gets enough colostrum. It is vital to keep in mind that rear teats produce less colostrum (and less milk too) than the front ones.
Read the full article on colostrum in pigs here.
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