The Colostrum Conundrum - Can sows feed their bigger litters?

Sep 11, 2023

Sows have more piglets these days, but are they able to feed them all properly? The key is colostrum, the first food for piglets, crucial for their survival and growth. 

Two decades ago, things were simpler. There were fewer piglets, so they probably got more colostrum. But with today's larger litter, each piglet might get a smaller share. 

Now, to tackle this, some folks had a bright idea: increase the number of functional teats on sows. More teats should mean more colostrum. It’s a great plan, but there's a twist. Piglets are increasing in number faster than the teats. 

How can we boost colostrum production then? 

One option is to keep increasing the teat count. But we might end up with longer sows, which could be a squeeze in their current stalls. 

Piglets with more colostrum grow up faster. But selecting sows based on this is a bit challenging. 

Also, focusing on weaning weight could be the way to go. Heavier weight at weaning suggests healthier piglets, which means they probably got enough colostrum. Some experts are urging more attention here. 

It's clear: for more thriving piglets, they need enough colostrum. This calls for teamwork—from genetics experts to those in nutrition—to ensure every piglet gets its fair share. 

Source : wisconsinagconnection
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