superior starter feed made it possible to wean smaller piglets
When influenza was rife in his farrowing unit, Danish pig farmer Michael Møller had to wean smaller piglets than normal. That required a different, superior feed.
Danish farmer Michael Møller has two herds, totalling 3,200 sows. Different types of influenza were rife in the farrowing unit, giving poorer quality piglets for a while.
In consultation with his vet, he decided to take a more radical approach in the farrowing unit. Apart from vaccinating for both influenza types, they divided the unit into three. No piglets were moved from one area to another, meaning that on weaning day, they were all - with no exceptions - weaned.
Previously, the smallest piglets were moved to a group of reserve sows, but there was a suspicion that it was this particular group of pigs that were the cause of the persistent influenza.
“Our new approach meant that we had a couple of hundred very small piglets every week that needed special care and feed”, explains Michael.
Power Pig Plasma from Vilomix
To give that group every chance of a good start, he bought Power Pig Plasma from Vilomix. This is one of the more expensive starters with 5% blood plasma and 10% milk powder along with 3.5% HP 300 and 2.5% fishmeal and Protastar.
“The mix has been in our range for about a year now. It’s ideal for herds where you have to wean small piglets for various reasons”, states nutritionist Julie Holsbo from Vilomix.
Michael gave his piglets the mixture for a week in the farrowing unit, from when they were 7-10 days old. They then switched to the standard starter feed. After weaning, the smallest 10% of the piglets were put back on Power Pig Plasma.
“The smallest were given Power Pig Plasma for another 1-2 weeks, depending on Swetlana’s assessment,” says Michael.
Swetlana has been in charge of the 7,000 piglets at Bisgård for several years. Michael had found that everything goes smoothly when she is looking after the smallest pigs.
“She follows no manual but takes a look and decides what each pen needs,” he explains.
Swetlana uses Power Pig Plasma, milk powder and extra water as well as gruel/soaked feed, depending on what she believes the pigs need.
There are weaning pigs at a total of six locations. Keeping the smallest at Bisgård makes it easier for the other personnel to look after the piglets at the five other locations.
- Thorough cleaning
- Thorough drying and heating of units
- No overcrowding
- Easy access to water, preferably in a basin
- ‘Super feed’ for the smallest 10%
- Reserve the best grain for piglets
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