Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Improving Piglet Survival

02.09.2008
Neonatal mortality in pigs is a major welfare and economic concern. It is one of the issues being tackled by Welfare Quality®, an EU-funded project designed to integrate farm animal welfare into the food chain.

Farmers suffer an average of 20% mortality per litter of piglets, which represents both a significant animal welfare issue and economic loss to the farmer. On average, neonatal mortality can cost farmers 2.56 piglets per litter twice per year.

With current prices a farmer with a herd of 250 sows could lose more than €50,000 per year due to early piglet deaths. However, research carried out through Welfare Quality® and supported by the Scottish Government, provides practical strategies to help farmers to increase their profits while improving the quality of life for their sows and piglets.

The Importance of Genetics

Traditionally farmers have used farrowing crates to protect piglets against being accidentally crushed by the sow. However, farrowing crates are known to stress the sow and may also be involved in other types of piglet mortality, such as savaging. There have been vocal public campaigns against the use of the farrowing crate. Hence Welfare Quality® researchers have focused on the genetics of piglet mortality and whether selective breeding can improve the chances of piglet survival in loose-housed or outdoor systems. The research has shown that piglet survival can be improved in just one generation in these non-crate systems.

Researchers found that piglets who find the udder and suckle quickly have better survival rates. This early vitality combined with physical features such as the right body weight and shape all lead to improved survival rates. Piglets that were dead at birth were disproportionately long and thin while surviving piglets were more proportional with a greater fat covering.

Sow characteristics are just as important as those of the piglet when it comes to piglet survival. Piglets were more likely to survive if the sow provided them with an efficient placenta that allowed them to develop the right birth weight and shape. Poor placentas increased mortality rates. As well as selecting for sows that support the development of their piglets, we should also select for sows that show good maternal behaviour. Sows should be calm and quiet during farrowing, and lie down slowly and carefully thereby reducing the risk of accidentally crushing the piglets.

Welfare Quality® researchers studied piglets and sows that were sired from boars with high survival rates versus average survival rates. This study showed survival rates could be substantially improved when breeding from “high survival” boars. Mortality was only 12% in litters selected for high survival compared to 18% in litters selected for average survival. High survival sows were better mothers showing less crushing behaviour during farrowing than average survival sows.

Improving survival using genetic selection strategies benefits both piglet and sow welfare, as well as assisting the farmer by making substantial economic savings. Additionally, this research demonstrates the potential for phasing out of the farrowing crate in the future.

Jacqueline Vredenbregt | alfa
Further information:
http://www.welfarequality.net

Further reports about: Piglet early piglet deaths food chain integrate farm

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Six-legged livestock -- sustainable food production
11.05.2017 | Faculty of Science - University of Copenhagen

nachricht Elephant Herpes: Super-Shedders Endanger Young Animals
04.05.2017 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>