Reducing mortality: Pigs are a product of their environment. Their health, growth and efficiency are dependent on the person taking care of them and the environment within the barn. Careful observations and a timely response to health challenges could be the difference between a group of pigs meeting performance expectations or falling short.
Improving feed efficiency: The grow-finish phase accounts for two-thirds of total feed costs. Improving feed efficiency through proper nutrition as the pig grows results in better nutrient digestibility, less feed waste and increased profitability for the producer.
Increase feed and water intake: Uninterrupted access to quality feed and water is essential for reducing stress and maintaining growth performance. Caretakers walking the barns daily need to check feeders and waterers closely to ensure that pigs have access to clean feed and water.
Heat stress: The high-lean, fast-growing pigs in production today are more susceptible to environmental stressors and temperature extremes than their predecessors. In order to maintain growth and feed efficiency, it is important to ensure that pigs remain within their thermoneutral zone. Once a pig falls outside of that zone, it will become stressed, and setbacks in performance may be observed.
Aggressive behavior: Incidents of tail-biting and other aggressive behavior are among the top behavioral problems linked to economic losses due to reductions in gain, secondary infections, death or carcass condemnations.
Decreased feed and water intakes: Decreased feed and water intakes can lead to poor growth and performance.
Tips for maximizing health and performance:
Reduce aggressive behavior by providing enrichment toys or blocks to stimulate the pigs and reduce stress.
Check feeders and waterers closely to ensure that pigs have access to sufficient levels of clean feed and water.
Increase water intake by adding acidifiers to your water.
Careful diet formulation, which considers amino acid (protein) and energy requirements, sets up a group of pigs to achieve top performance through the finishing phase of production.
Proper gut development through decreased starting stress and a sound nutrition program in the nursery leads to a much greater absorptive capacity in the finishing phase.