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Skinny sow, fat sow

The highest level of reproductive performance will be found on farms where feed intake is adjusted to the need of each individual sow. For this reason it is necessary to have a farm-specific feeding regime where the body condition of each individual sow pre-farrowing is documented and feeding adjusted accordingly on a sow by sow basis.

The most common methods to measure body condition are:

1. Manual/visual (BCS)

2. Renco Lean-MeaterR or echography

To ensure consistency, it is important to ensure that measurements are always carried out by the same person.

Sows that are too thin before farrowing may suffer:

  • Higher risk of severe body condition loss
  • Light-weight piglets at birth
  • Sub-optimal feed-intake
  • Reduced milk-production and lower weaning weights
  • Higher pre-weaning-mortality
  • Subsequent fertility problems, high levels of return to oestrus

Sows that are too fat before farrowing may suffer:

  • Light-weight piglets at birth
  • Reduced feed intake after birth and during the ensuing lactation
  • Increased risk of reduced milk-production
  • Difficult farrowing with high levels of farrowing mortality