Lactation Sows -Management (Part 2)

In this second part of this guide, we are going to explore the importance of farrowing management and key performance indicators to monitor in the management of lactation sows.

The importance of farrowing management 

 Monitoring the post-farrowing stage is critical to ensure sow milk production, which will directly affects piglet litter growth. To anticipate health problems of the sows after the farrowing, it is essential to systematically measure the rectal temperature:

  • At the end of the farrowing
  • Every 12 hours after the end of the farrowing during 3 days

If the temperature does not decrease during the 3 days after the farrowing and is higher than 40.0 °C, the sow is probably ill and will encounter lactation problems.

In this case, it is important to spot the factors that are responsible for the disease of the sow (constipation, mastitis) and implement the appropriate treatments.  Check with a veterinary to address the symptoms and administer the suitable treatments.

Lactation Sow Farrowing Management

Example of rectal temperature measure

Do you know?

Mastitis is a common condition affecting mammary glands that occurs sporadically in individual sows or sometimes as herd outbreaks. It starts around farrowing and becomes clinically evident up to 12 hours later. It can arise because bacteria have gained entry to one or more mammary glands for the first time, or it may be a sudden outburst of a latent infection. The route of entry of the bacteria is probably the teat orifice but it may be from the blood stream or by injection on piglets’ teeth.

How to spot the disease?

The sow is inappetent at farrowing, or before if mastitis is already developing, she is obviously ill and the mucous membranes of her eyes are brick red. There may be discoloration of the ears and the whole of the udder but particularly over the affected glands. In the early stages, palpation will identify the infected quarters but observation alone is often enough to detect swollen glands without carrying out an examination. The temperature ranges from 40 – 42ºC (104 -107ºF).

Importance of keeping track of performance indicators 

The following performance indicators are critical to measure the efficiency of the lactation sow management:

  • Born alive: piglets which are born alive, able to move and to breathe.
  • Stillborn: piglets which died during the farrowing but before the birth, not able to move either to breathe (due to long farrowing)
  • Mummified: non-viable piglets which died several days before farrowing.
  • Total born: number of piglets born alive and dead born
  • Pre-weaning mortality : weaned piglets/ born alive piglets (X100)

Reproductive Performance Lactation Sows

Our swine technical experts have come up with key performance indicators (target column in the table below) indicating a good management of the lactation sows. (based on housing, feeding and management of sows’ guidelines)

Target Performance Lactation Sows


Contact one of our technical specialists to improve your sow herd management and get better results.

In case you missed it, learn which feedings are best appropriate in breeding lactation sows and in which housing conditions they need to be bred in part 1 of this guide.

For any queries about lactation sows feeding and housing, contact us.


Lactation Sows Housing & Feeding Guide - Part 1

Be informed about our updated guides & news.

Don’t miss out our next publications, subscribe to the newsletter now.