Increased productivity

DanBred's 5 tips for weaning healthy piglets with high performance

Piglets need to be prepared for life after weaning. From a pig producer’s point of view, the best practices to help prepare the piglets for life after weaning already starts from the birth of the piglet.

We have wrapped up some of our best practical tips for you.


Focus on the sows

First things first, we need to focus on the sows’ health. If we take good care of our sows, then the sows will also take good care of their piglets.

The DanBred sow’s mothering abilities can be utilised even better when you ensure the gestating sows have good body condition, a smooth pre-farrowing period, the right farrowing assistance, free access to clean water, proper feeding of the lactating sows to ensure high level of feed intake, and last but not least, quick and proper treatment to the vulnerable sows.

Ensure enough colostrum for all newborns

Make sure the piglets get enough colostrum at the first day after farrowing by using split suckling or split milking. The right time to carry this out is after the sow finishes eating, and she has laid down. By waiting until she is full and settled, you ensure that she is more likely to relax and feed her piglets.

Each piglet should have a minimum of 250 ml colostrum within the first 24 hours after farrowing.

Place the bigger piglets in the corner or a box (remember to ensure enough heat, e.g. via a heat lamp) to let the smaller piglets have free access to colostrum. Allow the smaller piglets around 60-90 minutes with access to the udder, then you can swap the piglets over and let the bigger piglets get 30-45 minutes of suckling. 

Correct litter equalisation

and use of 2-step nurse sow. Equalise the litters to the number of piglets the sow has been assessed to nurse, by counting the number of functional teats, and thus, the number of piglets she can support.

This will increase the number of weaned piglets per sow, growth rates and reduce weight variations amongst piglets.

Piglets suckling

Quick and proper treatment

The faster you can treat the piglets, the better recovery for them. Using the right medicine and dosage increases the recovery rate, and it can contribute to decrease the use of medicine on the long term.


Prepare piglets for life after weaning

Together with University of Copenhagen, SEGES Innovation has researched how to give the piglets the best start with ‘proper’ feed by activating the digestive enzymes in the gut.

Imagine this: you are used to drinking only sow milk 18 times a day when you ’mum’ or siblings call for you, and then suddenly piglets must learn to associate the dry feeder with eating. Luckily, pigs are intelligent and curious animals, and therefore, they do learn this, but not as quickly as we would like them to, unless we make a dedicated effort in the farrowing pen,” concludes Marie Louise Madelung Pedersen, SEGES Innovation (quote from article in LandbrugsAvisen).

After weaning, the piglets will have to eat weaner feed. And we need the piglets to eat as quickly as possible after weaning – in large amounts – to avoid compromising their future performance.

When you teach piglets to eat pre-starter feed in the farrowing unit, it will be easier and faster for piglets to adapt to the new environments, new pen mates, and eat the feed without sow milk in the weaner unit.

Stimulate the weaners to eat by using the same feed, you have used in the farrowing unit. Liquid feed is good, as its texture is similar to that of sow milk. You should feed often, i.e. minimum four to five times per day.  And always use fresh feed. 

A low protein strategy, even as low as 16-17 %, has proven efficient with post-weaning diarrhea. See more detail about DanBred’s nutrient requirements here

three piglets lying down

DanBred sows produce large viable litters of robust pigs, which grow fast and have high feed efficiency all the way to slaughter. With these simple recommendations, you can ensure that you get the full potential from your piglets.


But you should remember: weaning healthy piglets with high performance starts with healthy sows!

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