Gilt Development Protocol

A gilt development strategy must be in place for every pig operation. Without a flow of new, young animals into the herd, consistency of production may be compromised. Some systems use 100% replacement every 1 or 2 years. However, with the current costs of capitalization today, those systems may not be practical. Each farm must decide on the plan and the action for meeting the goals (both production and economic) of the enterprise.


My presentation will describe several examples of “in-house” gilt production. These examples are used to show that the only limiting factor is individual creativity!


Why “in-house” gilt multiplication?


  • known selection
  • system/risk is known and controlled
  • possible health risks are reduced as few animals enter the farm and semen can be procured
  • timing for delivery (for batching systems) is always perfect


How to apply gilt development for single site vs multi-site farms?


  • select gilts at any age
  • control transportation
  • total control of testing, pig observation, records, etc.
  • reduce risk for introduction of new bugs to herd
  • total control of biosecurity and personnel


Development of procedures with health advisors


  • selection
  • serologic tracking
  • periodic status determination of sow herd
  • herd stabilization by feedback, use of culls, “seeder” pigs


What are some of the risks?


  • selection pressure and/or measurements of performance
  • reduced genetic improvement, use of boars rather then AI
  • breach of biosecurity (hauling own slaughter pigs, etc.)
  • infection on single site could cause “loss” of entire genetic program (APP, PRV, SD, etc.)


What should producers do?


  • work with farm advisors which should include lender, genetic supplier, veterinarian, feed supplier, packer, etc.
  • determine the acceptable risk level willing to face
  • determine method of measurement of success
  • accept the “by-products” of the in house system which includes barrows of maternal lines, reject gilts, etc.
  • don’t get influenced with “coffee shop” talk
  • have a plan and follow it


Every farm needs to have a plan to maintain a productive sow herd. Adding new gilts to a herd can be done in a number of ways. Each producer must decide the plan that is most practical and will be achieved consistently. Work with your advisors to determine which plan is best and then regularly evaluate it for level of success.


Farm A 600 sows

Farm A 600 sows


Farm B 1200 sows

Farm B 1200 sows


Farm C 180 sows

Farm C 180 sows