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Fostering piglets

Although fostering is often necessary in highly prolific sow units, there are significant risks associated with the procedure:

  1. By fostering pigs there will be a transfer of pathogens throughout the newly created litter (Kindergarten-effect).
  2. The foster-sow may refuse to allow the fostered piglets to suckle and may become aggressive towards them.
  3. The fostered piglets will be more passive and will show less massaging behaviour of the sow’s udder.As a result, milk production of the sow will decrease and milk congestion may develop.
  4. Milk congestion may lead to a premature heat which should be categorized as ‘irregular return to oestrus’.


Figure 1 Image