Get ready for insemination in less than six days

Published: 2022-02-22

Newly weaned sows need feed, water and light to stimulate the next cycle

Excessive weight loss in the farrowing house can cause a critical delay in a sow’s production cycle. The longer it takes to regain weight after weaning, the more unproductive days are likely to pass before the sow is ready for the next insemination.

To ensure maximum productivity, producers need to inseminate at least 90% of their sows no more than six days after weaning the previous litter. That requires stimulation of the heat hormones and ovulation by providing the right amount of feed, water and light.

Start of a chain reaction

Although weight loss is a normal occurrence during lactation, a range of factors related to feed level, health status and appetite can cause sows to lose more weight than usual. To overcome such challenges, ad libitum feeding is typically the most successful way forward. The increased level of glucose in the blood then leads to a chain reaction – insulin production goes up, the level of the hormone estradiol rises in blood plasma and ovulation gets underway. This is supported by the rising level of luteinising hormone, caused by higher protein intake. 

Written by:
Ganna Kirianova
Nutritionist, swine
gaki@vilomix.dk
‚Äč+45  2981 0171

Sows should receive 4 to 5kg of feed a day during this period, with gilts being fed ad libitum for one to two weeks before insemination. If several sows are fed from one feed dispenser, then it makes sense to group the animals according to size and condition. In this way, it is easier to ensure each sow gets the right amount of feed, while limiting unhygienic feed residues in the trough.

Sufficient nutrients and water

The feed should contain the right balance of minerals and vitamins for bone development and general health and a combination of soluble and insoluble fibres to support gastrointestinal health. The use of coarsely ground grains or rolled grain mixed with pellets is advantageous.

After weaning, sows may drink anything from 12 to 20 litres of water a day. So, free access to water is essential. The water system should be regularly controlled to ensure it can deliver four litres a minute.

Brightness in the barn

Light is the third factor in ensuring efficient secretion of heat hormones. Measured at eye level, the sows need at least 100 lux, 16 hours a day.

Once the sows are in heat, their feed can be reduced to 3.5kg a day until insemination. The sows should then be placed on a gestation feeding curve based on their body condition.

Basic nutritional requirements for Danbred sows (source: Danbred feeding manual)

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