Fail to Thrive

Published on: 06/04/2012
Author/s : Alex Ramirez (Iowa State University)

ABSTRACTEnteric diseases are some of the most significant contributors to baby pig morbidity and mortality in the farrowing house. Piglet immunity must be maximized in order to provide them with the opportunity to thrive in the farrowing house. The production of consistent, high quality pigs is a goal all sow operations are working to achieve. By maximizing piglet immunity and using proper husband...

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June 4, 2012
good paper -good review
Randall Ellis Randall Ellis
Pig farmer
June 4, 2012
I retired from the USA and now live and pig farm in Thailand (was not a farmer before retirement) –Thailand, as do other poor countries, has cultural problems with cleanliness. An example, when building the Thai kitchen area at our home my Thai family did not want, nor as they say, need hot water at the kitchen sink. Our 100 sow farm is primarily family run and the same hot water feelings carry over to the farm. Let me say that I am not saying they are smelly dirty people because they are not; I am saying that hot water is not thought to be a requirement of hygiene and the deep cleaning of anything is not thought to be necessary.

You stated about cleanliness: “It is also a psychological process that helps emphasize the importance of cleanliness”. I keep telling the staff that if you think clean and keep clean everything else will fall into place. For five years I have been preaching cleanliness. BUT, attempting to “sell” the idea of washing a sow prior to farrow entry is going to be hard. Deep, deep cleaning of farrow cages between litters is and has been a hard sell. Continual good cleaning of the sow and farrow cages when piglets are present to remove sow waste is also a hard sell. Surface cleanliness is easier to obtain, but deep cleaning will always be a “battle”! I do have high pressure washing systems in all of the barns which helps me “force” what appears to be a clean farm.

I am sure that the problem with not obtaining deep cleaning is not only a Thailand problem. I am also sure that not obtaining deep cleaning in the farrowing area results in diarrhea (and the continual use of drugs to stop the diarrhea) and results in the ongoing poor performance of the piglets as your article stated.

I must add; our farm is known as one of the cleanest farms in the north of Thailand and we have received awards for our farm but our farm is not “deep clean”! Thanks to your article I am going to once again push for a better “deep clean” hygiene practice at the farm, especially in the farrowing barn. I have a methane gas plant the can be used to produce hot water for cleaning and I will incorporate hot water into the program.

My first specific question to the author - you stated: “Then the right disinfectant needs to be used targeting specific pathogens on the farm.” Can you elaborate on what those disinfectants are please! (Please remember that generic products are usually more available and affordable in our poorer countries.)

My second question would be: What products do you use to wash the sow at entry and can those same products be used to keep her clean in the farrow cage both pre and post birth of the piglets.

A last thought; you stated “it is just common sense” – to you maybe, but to many cultures common sense is uncommon.
June 5, 2012
reference to Lawlor 2002 is Animal Science -not Journal of Animal Science.

a number of papers have been published that look at the relationships of birth weight to weaning weight to later performance and survival rates to market. Some we did and published in the Professional Animal Scientist.

we found linear - quad relationships of days to 250 lbs with both birth and weaning weight and lighter the pigs at either birth or weaning the increasingly longer it took the pigs to reach 250 lbs
June 5, 2012

Thanks everyone for the comments. Disinfectants are like antibiotics in the sense that one must be aware of what the target organism so that the best disinfectant can be selected. A great resource on disinfectants is available at Iowa State University's Center for Food Security and Public Health and freely available at following link:

The disinfectant review is excellent as well as the tables, especially "The Antimicrobial Spectrum of Disinfectants." If you need to identify which bacteria are gram positive and negative see "Bacteria Group Review Table." For separating enveloped vs. non-enveloped viruses the "Virus Family Table" is a great resource.

June 10, 2012

Dr. Ramirez, congratulations for this post, I think the good way also that you can increase piglet immunity is first of all taking care of the gestation in the sow, very important, if's the sow eats too much feed in the gestation her wont eat much in lactation, if she has some health problems she wont divide the nutrients in balance by the all piglets, so that as a number 1. as a number 2., piglet deserve a good colostrum management, they are products that has Colostrum extracts that has to be apply after birth because this other and small proteins of the colostrum will may not be available to the all piglets because they reduce their concentration on the colostrum after the first droop of colostrum goat's produced, so it will stimulate the immune system, and also with a good colostrum management giving the Immune globulin from their own mother the and a good amounts the piglet will survive and wont be much scours on the farrowing house.

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