Printing sow cards individually in different colours according to their parity, or number of farrowings, will make daily work easier. It is a simple and easy practice.
This trick is especially effective in the farrowing house because the sow´s cycle can be identified from a distance.
It is known that, when fostering piglets and when looking for nursing sows, it is advisable to place the weak and/or small piglets with a 2nd or 3rd parity sow. Teat size or the amount of milk produced, which will depend on the sow´s age, must be taken into account when fostering piglets.
Identifying first parity sows during or after farrowing will also be very helpful, as they need more supervision and are also very often the ones that need a booster vaccination. A different colour card will make it easier to identify them.
The main pig management computer programs allow to show and print sow cards by cycle number /parity number. At this moment, coloured paper is fed into the printer, according to the colours that are believed to be convenient. It is best to choose light colours, for better readability, and to use bright colours for the first cycles so they are easily spotted. For example, green for gilts, orange for second parity sows, yellow and light green for third and fourth parity respectively, and white for sows from fifth parity onwards.