Intensive research: 60 hours of observing sows and piglets

14 January 2019Time: 2 minutes

This is how the students register the first 48 hours after the piglets are born. Four farms, equipped with ProDromi® loose house farrowing systems, have offered their help.

The students will be observing three to four litters per farm for a duration of 60 hours. The ladies will be in the farrowing house non-stop, and sleep in the yard, a caravan or a cottage. Then again sleeping… They will take it in turns working six-hour shifts, interspersed with three hours of sleep. Now that’s what we call intensive research! It’s a demanding project, but the ladies’ enthusiasm is contagious. You can follow them on YouTube and LinkedIn, where they will record their experiences in a weekly vlog.

Observing conditions and behaviour

The piglets’ first 48 hours will be examined from a scientific perspective. A few examples of what the researchers will be examining during their observations: the climate in the house and the litter. Apart from temperature, air humidity and wind speed are also included as they are important conditions that affect sow and piglet behaviour. Lactating sows need a cool climate and tend to choose a cooler spot. Newborn piglets, on the other hand, seek the warmth of the sow or Nanny. When piglets lie down close to the sow, the risk of piglet mortality caused by smothering increases. The animals’ behaviour will be observed. How was the birth, what is their drinking behaviour, do they use the Nanny?

Individual habits and approaches

It goes without saying that all pig farmers have their own individual habits and approaches. Some take great care to keep treatment areas extra clean after birth. Others rub newborn pigs down immediately, or provide nesting material in the house. No two farms or farmers are identical, but we can certainly learn from each other and help each other by sharing these practices. That is why we would love to hear what makes your piglets happy! Please keep us posted, and we’ll provide you with tips in return.

Sharing results via a white paper

We are planning to publish a management poster and calendar based on Valerie, Irene and Anke’s insights and measurements, especially for ProDromi® pig farmers and our customers. In addition, we are planning to organise a white paper, aiming to share the findings and insights of the research. What can we learn from the research and what are possible solutions? This gives pig farmers access to relevant information that can help them improve their results. Together, we can make sure that the piglets’ first hours are as smooth as possible. Interested? Please sign up here.


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