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Pig Production: Weaner Management



Stress Management
Tail-biting, ear-biting, belly rubbing and fighting are all described as behavioral vices when groups of pigs are confined in one pen. When outbreaks of these vices occur, growth performance may be markedly reduced . Poor ventilation, faulty nutrition, overcrowding, and boredom are among the suspected predisposing factors. It is then necessary to give close attention to the environment, stocking rate, feed and water space, and the removal of particularly aggressive pigs to control the problem. Below are some important pointers in reducing stress for growing-finishing pigs
Some tips to minimize/avoid fighting
Mixing of pigs must be carried out with considerable care as fighting may occur. When mixed, piglets immediately start fighting, sometimes very earnestly. Aggression starts by animals confronting each other face to face and pushing shoulder to shoulder; after a while one of the piglets will seem weaker and will give way. However, as the pen is enclosed, animals will be pursued and bitten around the ears and tail. Bleeding will excite the animals and a number of piglets will enter the fight. These fights, which are entirely predictable, may result in death of one or more piglets. It is essential that these should be avoided. The following are several precautions which can minimize or avoid fighting.
  1. It is important not to use a pen in which one of the litters has already been housed, as this will result in them aggressively defending an established territory. Mixing should take place in a pen new to all, preferably in the evening as darkness will limit aggression.
  2. Give the animals a "toy" like a ball, chains or something that would attract their attention thus making them busy playing with it.
  3. Pigs can be sprayed with a solution of cresol, particularly around the ears and tail. This will interfere with olfactory mechanisms and, because of the adverse smell, will reduce biting. Spraying is undertaken twice on the first day and repeated on the following day, if necessary.
  4. Close observation of excitable animals should be done. Generally stability is reached after 48 hours
Finisher Management
  1. Our target for fatteners is to have faster growing pigs with good FCR.
  2. Select good weaners for fattening.
  3. Deworm piglets before fattening.
  4. Proper housing (good ventilation; proper space, clean, dry place, ideal pen temperature – 26°C)
  5. Assure clean water supply.
  6. Gradually change feeds.

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