BPEX blog

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Lady Gaga in the farrowing house?!

Thought I'd share some of the pig headlines from the British Society of Animal Science (BSAS) conference this week. 
Apparently playing the radio increases piglet play behaviour and sow nursing behaviour. Piglets getting down to Lady Gaga was an interesting suggestion! 
Also, on gilt management, Mr Cottney's results showed that ad lib feeding gilts after service doesn't affect no. born alive but reduces farrowing rate by 8.7%.
And, diets balanced properly using peas and beans instead of soya bean meal are no different in nitrogen balance and retention. Pulses look like a useful alternative to soya... 
Click here to read the highlights on Twitter and, for full details, visit the BSAS website.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

A pig vet's bugbears on farm

Vet David Chennells, MA VetMB CertPM MRCVS, told the Midland Pig Producer Club what bugs him most on pig units. It was part of a workshop focused on reducing risk of spreading disease challenge throughout pig units. Some of the bugbears he highlighted were:

• Old fridges used for vaccines – they’re always the cast offs from the domestic kitchen and yet they store £1000s worth of vaccine
• Untidy fridges
• Dirty bottles and needles

• Clogged-up fan vents and louvres
• Records stacked up unused
The photos show how a clean and tidy fridge should be and what fan vents should NOT look like!

Friday, 13 April 2012

What pigs can tell us

Pigs are inquisitive, social and have a better sense of smell than dogs. They also have a highly sensitive sense of taste. The things we know about pigs and their behaviour can be used to the stockman’s advantage when managing pigs at weaning.
Trainees on the Stockman North training programme learned more from vet Duncan Berkshire about how to get good early growth and quick growing pigs.
Trainees imagined, firstly, that they were suckling pigs. The sow and farrowing environment provided them with milk and warmth, protection (physical and immune), a hierarchy within the litter, family, social interaction and group feeding. It’s important to make the transition to weaner accommodation as smooth as possible and continue to provide these things as far as possible.
Post-weaning, feed and water and heat are priorities. Meals should be small and frequent. And water is vital, as Mark and Jack found during a competition to see who could eat biscuits the quickest!
Pigs behaviour will tell you whether they’re the right temperature or not. Read what the pigs are telling you, as well as the ventilation or temperature control dial.

Monday, 2 April 2012

2TS Finisher Challenge - the race is on

Producers from all areas of England are giving the 2TS Finisher Challenge a go. They're often pleasantly surprised when they ring up BPEX to say they're interested and find that's all that's required to 'join up'.

The knowledge transfer managers have started visiting finisher units to have a look performance records, help with how and what to record if needed and discuss what could be tried to boost pig performance between now and October.

One producer is looking at weighing before slaughter to get more ‘pigs in the box’. Another producer simply wants an assessment of his unit to see if there is any ‘tweaking’ that can be done to improve his production. In the north, two pig clubs have decided to compete against each other as combined forces!

There are 10 prizes up for grabs by pig producers , thanks to kind sponsorship from Elanco Animal Health. The two producers who make the most progress will each win a top-of-the-range tablet computer – one will go to the best contract finisher and one to the best breeder-finisher producer. There will also be regional prizes for eight more units across England. Prizes will be awarded based on the highest percentage improvements in feed conversion ratio, average daily gain and mortality

For frequently asked questions about the Challenge, click here.