Early Pig Care: Placement Plan

Placing pigs properly so every pig thrives

Every weaned pig must thrive to maximize the profitability of a pork operation. Previously in the Pig Improver, we have emphasized the importance of good early pig care in achieving optimal lifetime performance. Proper early pig care can lead to better animal well-being and reduced losses associated with fallback pigs, disease treatment and extra care. Good early pig care is about minimizing health challenges, minimizing stress at reception and assuring a good start in the first 10 days after weaning.

Early pig care should focus on:

  • Hydration
  • Early feed intake
  • Comfort zone
  • Proper room temperature
  • Proper placement

Choose the correct answer to these questions about minimizing stress at reception through proper placement:

The goal of proper placement is:
a) to minimize competition between pigs
b) to allow for feed training for all pigs, including small pigs and fallbacks
c) to use space efficiently
d) all of the above
Answer: d) Proper placement minimizes competition, enables efficient feed training and optimizes space
usage in the barn.

Proper placement is a management tool that involves categorizing pigs and placing them in separate pens. True or False?
Answer: True. Typical examples of pen categories are: Normal pigs, Poor competitors (called Open Pen), Hospital pen, Bottom pigs

Bottom pigs are the:
a) Smallest 5% of pigs
b) Smallest 10 to 15% of pigs
c) Smallest 50% of pigs
Answer: b) Bottom pigs are defined as the smallest 10 to 15% in your population. At arrival sort these pigs into separate pens (according to weight and health) to allow for specialized support to increase their performance.

Bottom pigs should be placed in open pens with the same temperature the normal pig population receives, but with gruel feed. True or False? Answer: False. Bottom pigs should be given gruel feed in pens that are in the WARMEST part of the barn. Preferably, these pens may also have more comfort zone tools (such as a heat lamp, mats or heat radiators) than the normal pig population pens might receive.

When gruel feeding, ensure all pigs can eat at the same time by providing a minimum of __ inches of linear gruel feeder space per pig
a) 0.5
b) 4
c) 3
d) 2
Answer: c) Three inches of linear space will allow all pigs to eat at the same time. This simulate pigs nursing as litter.

Early pig care placement plan
A typical sorting plan (for a 1200-head room stocked with 1280 animals)