Blog > April 2020 > Starting Young Pigs Right

Starting Young Pigs Right

April 6, 2020

Environment, feed, care, and water are four necessities when it comes to raising livestock.  Today, I want to discuss how these four elements can increase health, growth, and success to swine nursery operations. Newley weaned pigs require several days to adjust to their surroundings. These pigs should be in an environment of 85 degrees to 89 degrees F, depending on weight and health status. As pigs grow, the temperature will slowly decrease. Ideal temperatures are established by research and models. Many modern barns are equipped with computer-controlled systems that can be adjusted to the stage of growth. Comfortable pigs will lay next to each other and this indicates they are not too cold or hot. Pigs that are hot will be spread apart; and if piled deep on each other, pigs are cold. Computer controlled programs are useful but having owners or staff who can identify these indicators are important to the health and growth of pigs.

Feed intake is important during this weaning transition phase as you don’t want a pig to back off feed. Factors causing a pig to back off feed could be transportation, maternal separation, diet change from milk to dry pellets, and vaccinations. High quality starter feeds with increased nutrient value made in quality assurance programs are a great investment to a nursery operation. After purchasing a quality starter feed for a newly weaned pig to thrive, the feeder must be easily accessed. During the first couple weeks post weaning, 2/3 of the feeder pan should be covered with feed to attract pigs to the feeder. Once the pigs are eating, to reduce waste, work for a feeder target of ½ of the feeder pan covered. Our swine nutrition team has a starter feed promotion running through 2020 and I encourage you to reach out to them or myself for more information.

Pen walking is an important daily task when it comes to animal care. Feeders should be checked for cleanliness and proper feed flow. Floors should be evaluated for moisture. Wet floors, manure accumulation, and signs of diarrhea should be noted.  Any sick pigs or fall-behinds should be identified, pulled, and treated. Stand out early symptoms of illness could be a dirty hair coat, coughing, breathing heavily, loss of body condition, or red color appearance due to lack of food and water are just a few.  Nursery pigs provided with a good start will gain and finish well. A poor start will affect pigs throughout their lifetime.

Water, a highly important nutrient, is often taken for granted, yet is essential for health and performance. Pigs that aren’t drinking enough water aren’t consuming enough feed. A good indicator of pig health is water consumption. Tracking water usages can identify a health challenge quickly and allow time for a treatment plan. At Central Valley Ag we have a trained team of nutritionists and consultants who will stop out to your location(s) and provide services of ration balancing, walk throughs, and feed plan options for any challenges you as a producer may encounter. Let our team help you get your newly weaned pigs off to a great start!
by Brandi Salestrom
Posted: 4/6/2020 6:35:15 PM by Kristin Petersen | with 0 comments

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