Combining Crated Farrowing with Bedded Group Lactation
Iowa State University Animal Industry Report 2006. The purpose of this demonstration was to evaluate combining crated farrowing with bedded group lactation, in an effort to reduce pre-wean mortality. The demonstration was conducted at the ISU Armstrong Research Farm, Lewis, IA, during 2004 and 2005. Each group farrowing occurred in portable crates. After farrowing was completed, the pigs were taken out of the pens and placed in a common creep area with heat lamps. Group lactation ensued. Weaning occurred at 32 to 36 days of age. The average number of pigs born alive was 11.7 pigs per litter with an average birth weight of 3.3 lbs per pig. Weaning occurred at an average of 34.2 days of age with 9.0 pigs per litter weighing an average of 19.8 lbs each. The pre-wean mortality was 22.8%. Although this is high, it is approximately 1/5 less than the pre-wean mortality recorded during the earlier demonstration of the Swedish cubicle system. The larger number of pigs born live and the lower pre-wean mortality resulted in 9 pigs weaned per litter in this demonstration compared with 8.1 pigs per litter in the Swedish cubicle system which was demonstrated earlier at this site. This is about a 12% improvement. Again the bedded group lactation worked well. The pigs gained an average of 1.3 lbs/day with few problems.