Lighter piglets are more susceptible and have higher mortality rates. To improve sustainability, it is essential to manage the newborns, in particular by ensuring their colostrum supply and maintaining a favorable environment for the sows and piglets. There are long-term benefits to be had when risks are well managed from the start.
Using a Litter Conditioner
As part of the solution to help keep piglets alive and to support them through difficult stages, litter conditioners are commonly used. In this context, Wisium has developed Purlite, a powdered mixture of vegetable and mineral raw materials with absorbent, cleansing and non-irritating properties. It has powerful drying and binding effects and, due to its herbal aromas, it has also been shown to leave a pleasant smell for operators. The product plays a major role in the environmental management of animals and their litters. Litter conditioner is linked to critical times for newborns and can be applied directly to the piglet immediately after birth. This helps to dry the piglet, thereby warming it. As a direct result of the drying, warming and hygiene effect, piglets are supported in the right conditions to have quick access to colostrum, which increases their chances of survival. The use of a litter conditioner has also been shown to be linked to faster healing of a piglet’s umbilical cord.
Results in field conditions
To demonstrate the effect of a litter conditioner on piglets, a trial was carried out in France on three batches of sows and their piglets (23 sows and 336 piglets) during the period from birth to weaning (0-28 days ). The sow breed was Large White x Landrace, and the boar semen was Large White x Pietrain.
Various measures have been taken:
The piglets were weighed at birth, 24 and 48 hours after birth and at weaning.
The rectal body temperature of the piglets was taken at birth and at 1 and 24 hours after birth.
Health status and mortality were assessed.
Table 1 shows that a positive result was observed for the Purlite group in terms of mortality rate and number of crushed piglets; the mortality rate showed a significant decrease when the litter conditioner was used. Piglets treated with Purlite lost less rectal temperature than the control group 1 hour after birth.
In the trial shown in Table 2, litter conditioner has been observed to have a significant impact on mortality levels in medium-weight piglets as well as lighter piglets. For the lighter piglets, there is a remarkable reduction in mortality before weaning (reduction from 51.72% to 16.67%).
Reduction of pathogen pressure in maternity
In other studies using the litter conditioner, improvements in sanitary conditions for sows and piglets can be observed. Purlite promotes a safer environment for piglets, decreasing bacterial load and allowing faster healing of the umbilical cord. Good husbandry management and control of bacterial pressure are crucial to ensure animal safety.
A safe environment and good welfare remain major challenges in pig production. Purlite helps to secure the environment for sows and piglets and improve animal welfare, and it helps the full expression of genetic potential with remarkably easy implementation.