Increased productivity

DanBred’s 5 top tips for selection of gilts

To ensure that you select the best gilts for the next generation, we would like to sharesome of DanBred’s best recommendations.


The selection of gilts is the backbone of both breeding and production.

Index is a genotypical prediction of the gilt’s economic value, but a phenotypical confirmation of the exterior is also necessary. Roughly speaking, the phenotype is what you can see with your eyes.

The selection process begins in the farrowing unit, and it is important that an animal is assessed on an ongoing basis throughout its lifetime. Make sure to have enough animals to begin with, so that some can be sorted out without you ending up with too few to choose from when they are ready to be mated.


Selection ensures quality and longevity of the animal.

The baseline for any selection is an animal with unbroken lines, without exterior defects, and with evenly spaced teats. Assess the animal thoroughly: from the front, side, rear, and from below the animal – when standing and in movement.

The short checklist:


Enough space and good flooring is essential for optimal gilts.

All too often, gilts are stabled with a too high stocking density. There has to be plenty of space as well as dry, non-skid floors.

Remember to make sure you have enough animals to sort between: from 10 weeks of age, 7-14 % should be sorted out – otherwise, you’re compromising the consistent sorting. At 100 kg, the last sorting takes place, and the final decision is made: should the animal become a gilt or a finisher pig?


Sort the animals based on certain quality parameters

These can be divided into two main groups: health and exterior. Health involves conditions such as umbilical outpouchings or deformed genitalia. Exterior covers e.g. leg position and uniform hooves.


Higher longevity with the right growth curves

Animals with good exterior and growth curves have a higher productive lifetime – they increase the sow longevity.

Gilts should not grow at their maximum rate as it results in lower longevity. The risk of leg weakness and sore joints increases, as well as the risk of the gilt being too heavy at first mating – with subsequently lower longevity.

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