Split suckling piglets to improve colostrum intake and survival
Julia Sophia Huser – University of Adelaide Honours student
Supervisors: David Lines, Kate Plush and Wayne Pitchford
One of the profit drivers of the Australia’s Pork industry is the number of piglets produced per sow per year and one way to achieve this goal is by increasing survivability in pre weaning piglets in farrowing houses. A key method to improve survivability is to ensure each piglet receives adequate colostrum ingestion in the first 24 hours of life. Colostrum provides maternal antibodies which boosts the piglets immune system and provides immediate warmth and energy which is essential for survival. Over recent years larger number of piglets born alive has increased, as a result smaller piglets have a reduced chance to obtain adequate colostrum levels. One farrowing house management technique which allows for smaller piglets to gain some colostrum is split suckling. Spilt suckling is when the largest piglets which have already had a belly full of colostrum is separated away from the udder to allow for the smaller less viable piglets to suckle (this is usually for a 3 hour interval). I will be working with APFG at Wasleys to quantify the benefits and effects of split suckling by measuring adequate colostrum ingestion, survivability and growth.
Pork CRC and APL undergraduate and post graduate students spent the day before PPPE in a development workshop, capably hosted by Robyn Terry, former Pork CRC PhD student now with APL, where they presented on their research and studies in a group format and participated in vigorous discussions about animal welfare and how science can help defend the pork industry against rogue animal activists. Invited participants and speakers included Roger Campbell of Pork CRC, Darryl D’Souza of APL, Frank Dunshea of University of Melbourne, Tony Edwards of Ace Livestock Services and pork producers Edwina Beveridge and Ean Pollard.