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Pig Farming: Delayed Weaning Will Affect Your Profits  

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The average gestation period for pigs is 114 days (usually estimated at three months, three weeks and three days.

However, this ranges between 108 and about 121 days.

A farmer keeping records may not be accurate on the day the sow will farrow, but he could tell the time range in which pigs will deliver. This gives time to prepare.

During farrowing, two categories of piglets are produced — advantaged and disadvantaged piglets.

Advantaged piglets weigh 1kg and above, while disadvantaged piglets weigh below that.

Disadvantaged piglets may also have congenital defects, delay in the birth process, chilled or exposed to mechanical shocks in the farrowing unit.

The farmer decides whether to maintain the disadvantaged piglets or not.

Disadvantaged piglets are always slow in growth, weak and are subject to bullying by litter mates.

They are costly to grow and yet occupy space. In commercialised production, the life of such piglets is ended so that enough space is created for advantaged piglets to thrive and also reduce competition at suckling.

If its feeding is not static, please increase daily ration for each sow, depending on the number of piglets produced.

For instance, if a sow produces 10 piglets; multiply 10 by 0.25kg and add this to the sow’s daily ration.

Late weaning is a profit thief; this is because of the increased costs of production.

You will need to increase the efficiency of every sow to maximise profit. Late weaning reduces the number of parities per sow, per year. A profiting commercial producer looks at 2 to 2.5 parities per sow, per year.

Therefore, introduction of creep feed to piglets as early as possible is becoming important. Creep feed is expensive and should, therefore, be managed well.

Also, the gut of piglets is sensitive and, so, maximum hygiene is required.

Creep feed pellets can be introduced to the piglets at least seven days after farrowing. The quantities increase as the piglets grow, the best weaning time ranges from 21 to 30 days.

After weaning, the sow takes between three and 10 days to get on heat again. Sows with depleted body condition score will delay coming on heat after weaning.

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