Management strategies for improving survival of piglets from hyperprolific sows
Keywords:Hyperprolific sows, nutrition, birth weight, litter size, pre-weaning mortality
In efforts to improve profitability, sows have been subject to ongoing selection for larger litters. The current dogma is that larger litters improve sow productivity. This review, however, will question the validity of this assumption. It is inescapable that very large litters will have longer farrowing durations, lower average and more variable birth weights, and the sows will have insufficient teats available to feed their piglets. This is a recipe for increased piglet mortality with associated ethical considerations. This review will examine methods employed to address these challenges posed by larger litters in order to improve piglet survival. Producers, however, need a paradigm shift; their objective is not to produce pigs but rather to market kilograms of pork, and one does not necessarily lead to the other.