Effects of extensive crossfostering on performance of pigs on a farm

Barbara E. Straw From the Department of Large Animal Clinical Science, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824 (Straw, Duran); Veterinary Medical Clinic, University of Zürich, CH 8057 Zürich, Switzerland (Bürgi); and Department of Population Medicine, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ont, Canada NIG 2W1 (Dewey).

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Esther J. Bürgi From the Department of Large Animal Clinical Science, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824 (Straw, Duran); Veterinary Medical Clinic, University of Zürich, CH 8057 Zürich, Switzerland (Bürgi); and Department of Population Medicine, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ont, Canada NIG 2W1 (Dewey).

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Catherine E. Dewey From the Department of Large Animal Clinical Science, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824 (Straw, Duran); Veterinary Medical Clinic, University of Zürich, CH 8057 Zürich, Switzerland (Bürgi); and Department of Population Medicine, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ont, Canada NIG 2W1 (Dewey).

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C. Oliver Duran From the Department of Large Animal Clinical Science, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824 (Straw, Duran); Veterinary Medical Clinic, University of Zürich, CH 8057 Zürich, Switzerland (Bürgi); and Department of Population Medicine, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ont, Canada NIG 2W1 (Dewey).

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Objective

To compare mortality and growth rates of pigs subjected to continuous or limited crossfostering.

Design

Prospective study.

Animals

80 litters containing 879 pigs.

Procedure

In half of the litters, crossfostering was limited to the first 2 days of life. In the other litters, pigs were crossfostered throughout the lactation period to maintain uniform body weights within litters.

Results

Restricting crossfostering to the first 2 days of life resulted in a 20% increase in body weight at weaning, compared with crossfostering throughout the nursing period. Mortality rates did not differ between the limited and continuous crossfostering groups.

Clinical Implications

The emphasis placed on reducing variation of body weights within litters is unwarranted and veterinarians should advise limiting crossfostering to the first 2 days of life. Excessive crossfostering late in the nursing period may be identified by low within-litter SD of mean body weight. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1998; 212:855-856)

Objective

To compare mortality and growth rates of pigs subjected to continuous or limited crossfostering.

Design

Prospective study.

Animals

80 litters containing 879 pigs.

Procedure

In half of the litters, crossfostering was limited to the first 2 days of life. In the other litters, pigs were crossfostered throughout the lactation period to maintain uniform body weights within litters.

Results

Restricting crossfostering to the first 2 days of life resulted in a 20% increase in body weight at weaning, compared with crossfostering throughout the nursing period. Mortality rates did not differ between the limited and continuous crossfostering groups.

Clinical Implications

The emphasis placed on reducing variation of body weights within litters is unwarranted and veterinarians should advise limiting crossfostering to the first 2 days of life. Excessive crossfostering late in the nursing period may be identified by low within-litter SD of mean body weight. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1998; 212:855-856)

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