Producers ask, “How can I get my weaned pigs to start better?” Like a good football team, success often lies in hard work and doing the fundamentals right. Here are some of the important fundamentals in young pig management.

1) Ensure the proper environment —  The young pig requires an excellent environment to eat, gain and perform. Before the pigs arrive, check inlets, heaters, fans and controllers to make sure they are operating as planned. Establish a temperature curve in your controllers and monitor the pigs for comfort. Table 1 is a sample of a temperature curve in a nursery.

Day

1

7

14

21

28

35

42

49

Desired temperature (ºF)

85

82

77

72

70

68

66

64

Provide mats and/or comfort boards for the first few days, especially on the small pigs. Also, it is important to have the nursery temperature cooler on exit than the starting temperature in the finishing barn where they are placed. This greatly helps adaptation to their new environment.

2) Nutrition —  Provide well formulated complex diets to the newly weaned pigs. Land O'Lakes products are formulated to meet the needs of the young pig and provide proper nutrition by phase. Establish a feed budget for each group of nursery pigs and stick to it. Under feeding or over feeding a particular diet will only cost money in the long run. Sort the smallest 15-20% into designated small pens. Establish a small pig feed budget for those pens. Put the budget on a card on the feeder and record the diets on the card as they are fed. Provide feed often the first 3-4 days as the pigs are used to being fed many times per day by the sow. Don’t forget the water, make sure the pigs have easy access to water and learn to use their drinkers soon.

3) Management —  Provide the proper square footage allowance for the pigs. Don’t overcrowd the pigs. Don’t move or mix pigs, this will only reduce performance and increase costs. However, it is wise to leave a pen empty on arrival and use it for the pigs who have failed to transition the weaning process; this is especially important in large pen nurseries or wean-to-finish barns. Go in on day 4or 5 after weaning and pull the pigs who are not eating. Put them together in a pen and restart the pigs. Use gel and the first nursery diet to attempt to get these pigs back on track.

4) Health —  Make sure each pig gets a health check every day. Identify sick pigs early and treat them with the proper antibiotic and the proper dosage. Work with your veterinarian on a treatment plan. Utilize diagnostic labs to identify and confirm problems, many young pig diseases and health problems look similar.

Work diligently on these fundamentals and you will be satisfied with your young pig performance.

For further information, please see your local feed sales representative at a Land O’Lakes Feed Co-op or Purina Mills Dealer. Visit us online at www.LOLFeed.com, www.PurinaMills.com, www.PurinaPigStarters.com, www.GelResearch.com.

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