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Gestation period – an unspectacular phase?

Although there are few externally visible changes in gestating sows, it is during this time that physiological preparation is made for a successful suckling period. The following factors need to be considered.

Environmental Hygiene, Microbes 

► In the intestines, there is a permanent interaction  between microbes and the immune-system.
Through the blood vascular system the maternal antibodies (IgG) reach the udder and thereby the newborn pigs.

Stress Signals                                                                                                                    

  • Sham chewing
  • Fear
  • Social stress (rank order)
  • High environmental temperature (panting behaviour)                           

► significant lower IgG concentration in sow’s colostrum


The correct body condition:

Figure 1 Image


► glycogen-reserves of newly-born piglets

► full development of organs (head, brain, lungs,...)



 Sham chewing:

Figure 2 Image


 ► sham chewing, a sign of hunger