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Gilts going stale??

lukyluky Junior Member
edited April 2011 in Vets and Producers
Hi,

I manage a commercial hog operation where we raise our replacement females (F1's) internally. We run a certain percentage of purebred females which are bred to specific boars to produce F1's. Within our system we bring our gilts into the sow barn at around 160 days of age into a system of pens whereby they get daily boar exposure and are cycling very actively at this point. At around day 190 to 200 they are moved into gilt stalls and skipped one heat and bred at around 230 to 250 days old depending to a certain extent on size as well... The problem is once they moved into stalls they tend to not cycle as well as they did in pens or not at all without interventions like; PG600, moving them around and anything else we can thing off. Around 25% of gilts do not cycle without intervention and another 5 to 10% are culled as non-responders.

We are a high health herd, with no major diseases except for common nowadays diseases like; circovirus, swine flu.... We did have a swine flu circulate through our weaners and sow herd, not sure if that made gilts cycle worse then before, but they were not really hit hard with the flu...

Our boar exposure in the gilt pens is done with a boar cart, and I am wondering if that is not a big part of the problem. We are considering putting gates in front of the stalls so that boar can run around in front of gilts and maybe give better boar exposure, I am not sure if this is our problem but I am guessing that may be part of problem.

We do our vaccinating in the stalls and might the vaccines throw them off? They get Circumvent PVC2 for Circovirus, 2 swine flu vaccination and 2 farrowsure vaccinations.

Looking forward to your feedback.
Thanks in advance.

Comments

  • Stevie GStevie G Super Moderator
    edited March 2011
    luky wrote:
    Hi,

    I manage a commercial hog operation where we raise our replacement females (F1's) internally. We run a certain percentage of purebred females which are bred to specific boars to produce F1's. Within our system we bring our gilts into the sow barn at around 160 days of age into a system of pens whereby they get daily boar exposure and are cycling very actively at this point. At around day 190 to 200 they are moved into gilt stalls and skipped one heat and bred at around 230 to 250 days old depending to a certain extent on size as well... The problem is once they moved into stalls they tend to not cycle as well as they did in pens or not at all without interventions like; PG600, moving them around and anything else we can thing off. Around 25% of gilts do not cycle without intervention and another 5 to 10% are culled as non-responders.

    We are a high health herd, with no major diseases except for common nowadays diseases like; circovirus, swine flu.... We did have a swine flu circulate through our weaners and sow herd, not sure if that made gilts cycle worse then before, but they were not really hit hard with the flu...

    Our boar exposure in the gilt pens is done with a boar cart, and I am wondering if that is not a big part of the problem. We are considering putting gates in front of the stalls so that boar can run around in front of gilts and maybe give better boar exposure, I am not sure if this is our problem but I am guessing that may be part of problem.

    We do our vaccinating in the stalls and might the vaccines throw them off? They get Circumvent PVC2 for Circovirus, 2 swine flu vaccination and 2 farrowsure vaccinations.

    Looking forward to your feedback.
    Thanks in advance.

    I would run a boar through your pens each day and any gilts that don't come on after a certain period of time remix them. The stress of mixing should trigger the gilts in to cycle.
    PG 600 would be my last resort and if after that and they didn't come on then it would be "curtains" for them.
    Hope this helps.
  • lukyluky Junior Member
    edited March 2011
    We do remixing if gilts don't cycle after certain days, and use PG only as last result, I'm convinced our problem is boar exposure, are trying to get that fixed.
  • Stevie GStevie G Super Moderator
    edited March 2011
    luky wrote:
    We do remixing if gilts don't cycle after certain days, and use PG only as last result, I'm convinced our problem is boar exposure, are trying to get that fixed.

    Seen this problem over in North Carolina on 2 hog farms before where one farms gilts where cycling properly and the other weren't.
    The hog farm that was doing better had a boar in a harness, rope tied to the harness and a hook on the other end, and would gradually move the boar along the stalls, hooking the rope on the stalls to halt his process.
    Try this as an option first, as it can be done much quicker and easier.
    The boar you use must be relatively old(hence smelly), and they stuck to using this boar all the time as once trained he tended to do the job himself.(would know the root like the back of his fat clays after a while).
    If that didn't work then I would let the gilts out in cycle batches and let them mix together as a means of making them cycle.
    A massive pain in the butt, I know, but if it does the trick, then its a must!
    I know what massive pressure you are under to get the production, so its what ever is needed to get the result as far as I would be concerned, extra work or not.
    Those rows of stall can be very long so it would be a pain to put them back, but when the needs must, it needs to be done.:D
  • rootsafricarootsafrica Senior Member
    edited April 2011
    The solutions are quite simple...
    1) Use more than one boar, alternate with one or the other each day. Boars must be larger than the gilts, mature, produce a lot of foam at the mouth when around the gilts, and be 'chatty' ie, they must make noise when with the gilts.
    2) Twice daily exposure - early as possible in the morning, late as possible in afternoon.
    3) Forget the boar cart for gilts - they must have direct contact - put the boar inside the actual pen with the gilts (either sterilise him, or someone must watch all the time to be sure he doesn't mate).
    4) Move replacements into the stalls at least 10 days before they are due to cycle again (so standing heat in the groups must be recorded). Cut back feed for the first 7 days in the stalls, then flush feed for the remaining three days leading up to standing heat and continue until they are inseminated by providing ad lib feed. If they don't cycle within 4 days of the estimated date, cull.
    4) 10%-15% non-cycling by the time they reach 240 days is acceptable and they should be culled. Using PG600 on gilts is never the best solution as those animals will not perform well in the future.

    good luck
  • Stevie GStevie G Super Moderator
    edited April 2011
    The solutions are quite simple...
    1) Use more than one boar, alternate with one or the other each day. Boars must be larger than the gilts, mature, produce a lot of foam at the mouth when around the gilts, and be 'chatty' ie, they must make noise when with the gilts.
    2) Twice daily exposure - early as possible in the morning, late as possible in afternoon.
    3) Forget the boar cart for gilts - they must have direct contact - put the boar inside the actual pen with the gilts (either sterilise him, or someone must watch all the time to be sure he doesn't mate).
    4) Move replacements into the stalls at least 10 days before they are due to cycle again (so standing heat in the groups must be recorded). Cut back feed for the first 7 days in the stalls, then flush feed for the remaining three days leading up to standing heat and continue until they are inseminated by providing ad lib feed. If they don't cycle within 4 days of the estimated date, cull.
    4) 10%-15% non-cycling by the time they reach 240 days is acceptable and they should be culled. Using PG600 on gilts is never the best solution as those animals will not perform well in the future.

    good luck

    Hey Roots if only life was always that easy!:D
    I) The mature boar is always best.
    2) Twice daily on 5000 sows(not sure of Luky's size unit) would be very time consuming. When we used the boar on a harness one walk infront of the gilts, and another person walked behing and applied back pressure to the gilt and record its cycle date or marked it if it was to be served that day.
    Once daily would be good enough as long as a good amount of exposure time was given.
    Its always best would be to try both methods and see what your results turn out like.
    3)I never used a boar cart either, so Iam with Roots as Boar exposure is always best.
    Since Luky's got his gilts in stalls he can't run a boar through the pens, so that option is not possible.
    4) It would be best if you could actually move your gilts into your stalls not long before you need them. Roots says 10 days which would be ideal as the stress of moving them will trigger off their heat cycles.
    I suppose for you Luky SPACE is always a big problem, so you don't get the pleasurable option of moving them as and when you want to.
    Are your gilts on ad-lib feed until you move them???????????
    This would be the best case scenario so that they have the oppurtunity to put back fat on(upto 20mm) before being moved.
    More importantly gilts in the UK and Oz are not served until they are 130kg(286lb) at 7 months of age, which some suggest is more important for the longgevity and better performance of a gilt.
    I would be interested to know what age and weight Luky's serving at?
    Feeding gilts ad-lib into a is best, but if you have gilts in stalls feeding them ad-lib is not always a good idea as the food they don't eat will block the flow of water to the other gilts/sows so you spend alot of time removing feed from the water trough.
    Try feeding their extra feed on the concrete area, just before the slats or feed then twice daily. Not alway practicle I know.
    As to using PG600 I very rarely use it to induce a gilt or sow to cycle as their litter are usually poor, but as said before if all else fails then yes.
    The only thing I would do different to Roots is NOT just cull them but take them out of the stalls and mix then to stress them up and bring them on.
    But as ever it all hinges on what space is available.
    Hope it helps in some way.
    Let us know how you go.
  • lukyluky Junior Member
    edited April 2011
    Hey, Stevie G, roots and blonde; thanks for the answers. I was thinking somewhere along the line of what all your replies said.

    We breed gilts 220 to 250 days old, 130 to 150 kg's, production in gilts is phenomenal, born alive on gilts was 12.8 so they do produce even if we have a problem getting them cycling... We never ad-lib feed or flush feed gilts, we feel it works very well to just feed to condition automatically twice a day.

    Our plan now is to take boar out of boar cart and temporarily set up a gate system, let him walk around in front of 6-8 gilts for a couple of minutes and then do the heat checking... Will see how that works out.

    Funny thing with PG is that I record it on gilt history and have been surprised as to how normal they have been...

    Thanks for all the replies!
  • Stevie GStevie G Super Moderator
    edited April 2011
    Never really had much need for PG600 so don't use it as it is an extra cost.
    Let us know how you go after you have made your changes.:D
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