Find out what really happens before the pigs become your breakfast
Carry out preferably within 72 hours after birth, but at least before 7 days of age. Use sharp, clean instruments. At least 2cm of the tail from its base should be left after docking at this age. Clipping too much off may result in ascending infectionsinto the spine. A veterinarian should perform tail docking of pigs older than 7 days.
This procedure is not routinely required. High risk farms include those that do excessive crossfostering,have poor-milking sows and high ambient temperatures. If clipping is not undertaken correctly, this can cause gum damage that may result in lesions to the insides of the oral cavity. Polyarthritis is one possible infection arising from poor teeth clipping techniques.
Castration should be avoided. If necessary for marketing purposes, non-surgical methods arepreferable. Ensure the animal is adequately restrained & equipment is clean and disinfected. Surgical castration requires use of a sterile sharp implement such as a knife or surgical scalpel.Good post operational drainage is essential.
Piglets will become anaemic within 10 days of birth if not supplemented with iron. Always ensure needles are not blunt, dirty or burred. For pasture-based systems, soil can provide an adequate amount of iron for the nursing pig, reducing the need for an iron injection.
Clean up the boar, While mounting a sow on heat or dummy sow, Boars respond to pressure on their penis>>ejaculate.
The insemination process aims to place as many live sperm as possible inside the tract of an aroused oestrous female.The elements of a successful artificial insemination are, provision of head-to-head contact with a mature boar throughout the insemination process (N.B.the boar should be used to stimulate no more than 3 sows at a time).
Insert the catheter into the vulva at a 30 degree angle upward angle, pushing gently until the resistance of the cervival opening is felt. Attach the semen tube, bag or bottle to the catheter (if using a couchette bag this step could have been taken prior to catheter insertion) Start semen flow by applying gentle pressure to the semen container. Allow free flow of semen into the sow (be patient allow 2-6 minutes) if semen doesn't flow reposition the catheter slightly. Throughout the insemination including for 1-2 minutes after the semen container has emptied -continue to stimulate the sow by massaging her udder, flanks and back.
The body condition of sows is scored from 1 (emaciated) to 5 (overly fat). The ideal body condition of a sow at farrowing is 3 and at weaning about 2. The key landmarks to look for with condition scoring are the backbone, hip bones and tail bones
Rope nose snares are less traumatic but are unhygienic and too slow for working when numbers of animals have to be sampled. A very practical nose snare for pigs from 6 to 26 weeks can be made from stainless steel cable and galvanised pipe.The restrained pig can be moved easily into the preferred site. Remember to use ear muffs during this procedure.
Bleeding from the anterior vena cava/caudal jugular site is suitable and recommended when a number of animals have to be bled or multiple bleeds are required. Tail bleeding, ear bleeding and cephalic vein bleeding are more problematic and not recommended where repeated samples have to be taken.Excessive blood leakage to the thorax can occur and is associated with laceration or damage to the anterior vena cava.Where an animal is inadequately restrained, avoid repeated attempts at venipuncture.
With the increased intensification in the pig industry, the role of the veterinarian is focussing more onherd health management, frequently necessitating treatment or preventive measures on a mass basis.Practices of Schedule 4 (S4) drug supply and usage in the pig industry have legal and ethical restraints
Pigs have similar anatomy & physiology of the cardiovascular & pulmonary systems; hence they are used in biomedical research as models for human disease. They are also a similar size, morphology & physiological characteristics to humans and may be used for models of coronary blood flow, growth of the CV system and pulmonary development.
Cardiovascular studies: myocardial infarctions, aneurisms, vascular surgery, cardiac bypass, pacemaker implantation
Digestive system studies: intestinal bypass/anastomoses, fistulation/colostomy, rectal prolapse, gastrotomy, pyloroplasty
Endoscopy/Laparoscopic surgery: less invasive, decreased morbidity, increased recovery, improved cosmetic effect, training for surgeons
New areas: replace dogs & primates for musculoskeletal and CNS models
There are a bit over 300,000 sows in Australia housed on about 2000 farms (Australian Pig Annual 2005). New South Wales is our biggest pig producer, with around 30% of the National sow herd. The number of pig producers has decreased from 49,000 in 1960. Despite this, sow numbers have increased from approximately 220,000 sows. This means that the average herd size is getting bigger. Pig farms are also becoming more vertically-integrated. In other words, the same company grows and/or buys the feed, farms the pigs and also owns the abattoir.
The main factors that drive piggery sustainability are:
Commercial pig production started in Australia in the late 1960's. This was the start of indoor or intensive rearing of pigs. The intensive housing of pigs provides a number of advantages: control of feeding & environmental temperature, efficient labor utilization and waste product collection.
There are six areas of basic information needed for sound design of animal housing:
As building costs are high, it is important they are designed with the following considerations:
Acclimatisation allows new replacement gilts to adjust to the diseases present in the purchasing herd that they have no immunity to, as well as new feed, housing and management system. Major problems arise when gilts of high health status herds (eg. a herd free of Mycoplasma pneumonia, pleuropneumonia or swine dysentery) are put straight into a herd where these diseases are present.
The following procedures will assist in dealing with specific diseases:
Oestrus, on heat and cycling all refer to the same phenomenon a two to three-day period, ateither puberty, the end of the 21-day reproductive cycle of a gilt or a few days after weaning for a sow, when the female shows the standing response to the boar and can be mated/inseminated.Poor oestrus detection results in gilts and sows which are ready for mating not being mated/inseminated. This leads to fewer matings/inseminations overall and subsequently fewer pigs sold. Poor oestrus detection can be a major problem, particularly in gilts where the oestrous period isshorter and less marked. It is not uncommon for the oestrus detection rate (% of oestrous gilts actually detected) to be as low as 50%. These rates are based on abattoir examinations of ovaries which showed that many gilts, killed because they had not been detected in oestrus, in fact had been cycling. Good housing conditions make oestrus detection easier. Any conditions which make sows more comfortable help with oestrus detection.
Only mate/inseminate females that are definitely on heat (i.e. showing a standing response to the boar). This is particularly important in late oestrus as matings/inseminations given after the sow has ovulated may cause infection and wastes timeand semen. Equally don't serve animals too soon, they may be showing classic signs of proestrus in their behaviour but will not stand rock solid for the backpressure test. The problem is if you start to serve too soon you will invariably stop serving too soon.
The use of sow stalls attempts to overcome disadvantages of penning sows. There is no doubt that sows housed in stalls during the first 6 weeks after mating have better reproductive performance (less early embryonic loss) than group-housed sows. However, stalled sows may suffer from a lack of physical exercise, inability to huddle and an increase in specific health problems. There are a number of factors that may predispose sows to increased bacterial infection of the genitourinary tracts. These include a tendency to lie for long periods and to empty the bladder only when standing, and soiling of the vulva and perineal area. Shed temperature is particularly important when sows are stalled. As sows are generally fed less than growers relative to their size and maintenance requirements, they require warmer shed temperatures. The lower critical temperature (that below which an animal must eat more feed just to keep warm) is 40C higher for sows in stalls than for grouped sows. The sow's temperature requirements will be increased if there is a breeze. Outbreaks of abortion in winter months may be associated with low sow house temperatures and failure to compensate for increased energy requirement. The insulation of buildings and particularly the control of drafts under doors, through ridge vents and windows are allimportant. The Model Code of Practice for Welfare (pigs) was reviewed in 2007. This code states that from 2017, no sow is to be housed in a stall for more than 6 weeks of her gestation period.
Discharges from the vulva may originate from the reproductive tract (primarily the uterus) and/or the urinary tract (bladder, kidneys etc.) Abnormal vulval discharges may be voluminous, smelly and be yellow/green. The sow may also appear ill (have a fever(>39.5C), be lethargic, off her feed etc. Sows with kidney/bladder infections will generally have urine stained with blood, and will pass pus at the end of urination. Often the cause of the discharge does not interfere with pregnancy and the sows farrow normally. If your farrowing rates remaining high, don't be overly disturbed by discharging sows. If farrowing rates have dropped, VDS is a possible cause.
The proportion of sow deaths in a herd has been found to be highly correlated with herd size. It has been suggested that for herds with 150 sows or less, target death rate should be 3% or less. For herds with 200+ sows, this target increases to 5%. It is suggested that the combined euthanasia/death rate for herds be 9% (5% natural deaths/4% euthanasia). Sows appear to be most at risk during the lactation period, with about 40% of deaths occurring post-farrowing. The major causes of sow death include bladder and kidney infections, gastric accidents (twists, bloat, stomach ulcers), heart failure/heat stroke, blood poisoning (septicemia) and uterine prolapses.
Usually seen in gilt litters-associated with pain of farrowing. Usually attack the head of the piglet & crush the skull.