15 December 1995

Feed scale lifts piglet weights

SOWS on a precise lactation feeding scale are in better condition and have produced piglets with higher weaning weights on one Somerset unit.

The feeding scale, developed by Newsham Hybrid Pigs, is aimed at improving the accuracy of feeding and reducing refusals to improve overall lactation intakes. It is introduced five days before farrowing. This ensures feed level is reduced to 2kg for the two days prior to farrowing and to 1kg on the day of farrowing.

After farrowing, sows remain on 2kg a day for three days. Then feed is increased by 0.5kg a day up to day 11, and by a further 0.5kg every two days up to day 23.

The scale is being used at R E Underhill and Sons unit at Greinton, Somerset, where the minimum target intake is for 188kg, 6.7kg a day, over 28 days. But sows with larger litters are given extra feed.

Feed rates are recorded and adjustments made for sows or gilts that refuse feed or are slow to eat to stimulate their appetite. &#42