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Shared lactation between different litters in order to control exudative epidermitis

We allowed the shared lactation between different litters by raising the fences located between the farrowing pens a week before the weaning due date.

Friday 6 September 2013 (5 years 18 days ago)
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Goal

Controlling an outbreak of exudative epidermitis after weaning.

piglets with exudative epidermitis

Photograph 1. Piglets with exudative epidermitis.

Explanation

At the farm La Balcona (Barcelona, Spain) we made an easier shared lactation between litters by raising the fences that divide the farrowing pens a week before weaning. Although there were fights between the piglets, they fought with a lower frequency in comparison with the usual system, so the wounds did not evolve towards serious lesions, as in the case of the typical outbreak of exudative epidermitis.

removal of the the fences between the farrowing pens for a joint lactation removal of the the fences between the farrowing pens for a joint lactation

Photos 2 and 3. Raising of the gates between two different farrowing pens to allow joint lactations.

We all know how insidious and financially expensive an exudative epidermitis outbreak can become. In our case, the outbreak started after a PRRS outbreak and it coincided with a higher percentage of gilts' farrowings than normal.

The antibiotic treatments at weaning only delayed the outbreak. After many relapses we chose to mix the piglets for a joint/shared lactation.

Supplementary measures applied:

• Cleaning of the sows' udders with a detergent solution when they enter the farrowing quarters.
• Administering of a broad spectrum and long-lasting antibiotic to all the piglets when weaned.
• Cleaning of the piglets with a detergent solution when weaned and before mixing them.
• If possible, house together all the piglets born to the gilts in the same nursery pen (not all the farrowing quarters are the same, and in some of them we were not able to raise the fences).

Thanks to these measures that problem is currently under control.

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