18 December 1998

Sow foot warning

OUTDOOR pig producers are urged to watch for a rise in sows returning to heat due to poor foot condition, a problem exacerbated by the cold snap earlier this month.

Hull-based pig vet Mark White suggests this years prolonged wet spell has taken its toll on foot condition, softening hooves and increasing incidence of foot sore in outdoor breeding pigs. This can severely limit boar and sow performance during cold weather, when standing on frozen, uneven ground can be particularly painful, says Mr White.

"Boars with sore feet are unlikely to want to serve sows while standing on frozen, uneven ground and, likewise, sows suffering sore feet will be unwilling to stand during service."

That means watching for an increase in the number of sows returning to heat about three weeks after frosty weather. &#42