The weaning-to-service interval is a short but important period for the productivity of the sow. Supervising the factors that have an influence on the wean to service length, including feeding has shown to be highly correlated to success in the farrowing unit and subsequent lifetime reproductive productivity.

Production targets

  • A wean to service interval of 6 days or less for 90 % of the sows
  • Ensure the sows show a strong heat
  • Secure a successful mating

Body condition & Weight

Focus in the wean to service period is to return the sow into optimal rebreeding condition. Maintaining a high feed intake is imperative for initiating the recovery of any lost body condition. It is important to focus on the condition of the individual sows.

At the time of mating, an average body condition with a backfat thickness of 13-15 mm is ideal.

* Back fat target when measured at the point P2.

Accurate backfat measurements rely on precision – measurements are made 7 cm from the spine on the rear rib

When reading the measurements of backfat on the scanner, it is important to read in P2 in order to have comparable results

Correct body condition is essential. Results have shown, that reaching the average body condition will have a direct impact on litter performance and sow longevity.

Impact of body condition on reproduction
Body score condition Skinny Average
Parity 1-2 3-5 > 6 1-2 3-5 > 6
Sows with shoulder wounds, % 10 9.2 9.1 4.0 3.6 4.0
Still born/farrowing, 1.3 2.9 2.4 1.2 1.7 1.9

Nutrient requirements

The basic nutritional requirements for DanBred sows are described below. The requirements are based on production in a temperate zone, adaption for the relevant climate may be necessary.

Energy, per kg feed
MJ ME/kg feed 12.5
MJ NE/kg feed 9.5
Danish Feed Units (FU) sow/kg 1.02
Relation between MJ ME/MJ NE are depending on feed ingredients
Basic nutrients, digestible per kg
SID protein. min. g/kg 105
Lysine, SID g/kg 6.0
Digestible phosphorus g/kg 2.3
Calcium, g/kg 7.1

Mineral and vitamin supply should be adequate to ensure normal bone development and general health. Soluble, as well as insoluble fibres, should be added to maintain gut health.

The full nutrient tables can be found here.

 

Feeding strategy

Flushing by maximising feed and nutrient intake in the short period from weaning until mating, have shown to markedly increase the number and quality of eggs released, hence optimising litter size.

The effect is explained by an increase in blood glucose which initiates higher insulin production, initiating an increase of blood plasma oestradiol which stimulates the production of eggs. Moreover, the increased protein intake elevates the level of luteinizing hormone (plasma LH), which contributes to better ovulation.

The feed allowance during wean to service should be set to 4.5 to 5.0 kg per day.

The sows should be fed at least twice a day. An ad libitum or close to ad libitum feeding can be used.

Keep an eye on the feeding system and adjust to the recommended feeding levels.

Be aware that old feed can interrupt optimal feed and water intake with the sows, why, it is imperative to keep close attention and ensure that all sows eat their full ration at each feeding.

When the sows show heat the feed allowance can be reduced to 3.5 kg per day and following service, the sows should convert into the feeding scheme for gestating sows.

My notes for Feeding from weaning until service

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