Tips for health management of gestation facilities

Health and sanitary management of contemporary swine herds is the “cornerstone” of animal health status and productivity. Development and implementation of sanitation/cleaning and disinfection protocols usually concern farrowing and weaners units and only rarely gestation facilities. However, sows spent approximately 80% of their productive life in these facilities and is the second, after feed conversion rate, factor that affects the profitability of a swine herd. A protocol of sanitary management of gestating sows unit should include the following:

  1. Cleaning and disinfection of empty pens before transferring sows in them.
    • Removal of feaces, persistent dirt and dust from flooring and troughs.
    • Disconnecting and cleaning of drinking nipples.
    • Prewashing and then washing of pens with detergent and disinfection with a suitable disinfectant.
  2. The urogenital track of sows is constantly exposed to environmental contamination throughout the entire gestation period. The most critical interval for the prevention of urogenital infections is that from weaning to estrus. Reduction of exposure to environmental contamination with the daily use of a dry disinfectant at rear the part of the pen, behind the sow and around the external genitals is good practice.
  3. During the gestation period accumulated feaces should be removed on a daily basis and any manufacturing faults of pen floors that hamper sufficient draining of feces and urine should be immediately restored.
  4. Before transferring of gestating sows in the farrowing units, they should be washed with soap and water. This practice removes existing feaces from external genitals and teats of the animal and simultaneously reduces the parasitic load at which newborn piglets are exposed in their early life. Piglets with intense parasitism do not fully respond in preventive vaccinations.

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