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5 Causes of Swine Infertility and How You Can Avoid Them

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Hog raising is a business. The more pigs you produce and market, the higher the potential income. But what if your swine suddenly stops conceiving? What if you’re not getting your targets? Swine infertility happens and this can cause major alarm to hog raisers. As infertility can lead to a higher cost of  production than your original projected budget, such problems should be addressed –- and avoided if needed, early on. Read on and find out what causes swine infertility. 

1. Faulty temperature

Temperature has a lot to do with a pig’s desire to mate. Usually, high temperatures lower such willingness. Hence, where temperatures cannot be controlled, swines will have difficulty achieving successful pregnancy. 

What to do: Ensure there’s a good ventilation and shade for your breeding pigs. Wallows (areas of shallow water where pigs roll or lie down) also help to keep your animals in their preferred temperature needed to properly condition mating. 

2. Food and bedding contamination 

Straw beddings and feeds usually have moulds and fungi that produce mycotoxin. This toxic substance from fungi can cause serious harm (and possibly damage) to a pig’s placenta, resulting to stillbirth and abortion. 

What to do: Add binders to pig’s feed as these will help absorb the harmful mycotoxins. Ensure that food bins and trough are regularly washed and dried to avoid contamination. For beddings, avoid using straws kept in damp areas. 

3. Inability to detect “heat” 

When a swine is at its “oestrus activity”, ovulation and copulation are most likely to happen. At this stage, pigs are considered in heat. When farmers fail to take note of the first and second cycle of this oestrus activity, there’s also a probability of missing out on the third cycle when pigs are at their most reproductive. 

What to do: Know the signs when these gilts (young sows) are with the other pigs. But do not prematurely mate your swine with male pig. One sign when a female pig is ready for copulation:  she won’t resist and move forward when a male pig’s weight is put on her back. Mating a female pig with a male partner should be done 4-6 days after weaning when she is most fertile. 

4. Wrong body conditioning score and age

Body condition scoring in pigs helps assess a sow’s overall condition and its ability to conceive. When swines copulate with a wrong body conditioning score, there’s a very low chance of conception. The same applies to premature mating. Gilts (young pigs) that are mated too young are least likely to perform well in ovulation, pregnancy, and litter count. 

What to do: A body conditioning score of 3-3.5 during mating is ideal for getting pregnant. Keep this as a guide to know the ideal time for mating. Avoid premature mating as well, as this will not translate to a successful pregnancy. Still for pigs, avoid unbalanced nutrition or underfeeding because this can result in failure in embryo implantation. 

5. Mismanaged mating

There are instances when mating isn’t properly monitored and supervised. Know that a swine’s fertility, heat peak, and likeability to conceive is time sensitive and is highly dependent on a lot of factors.

What to do: Be guided that implantation happens two weeks after mating. This stage is highly crucial as this can be an opportunity to have more embryos implanted.  Keep the “mating place” light to help stimulate the sow’s hormones. Do not expose the sow to stressors. 

Swine infertility happens, but it can be avoided. All you need to do is close supervision, monitoring and due diligence in keeping the whole environment optimal for your pig’s pregnancy. 

To know more about swines, visit www.unahco.com

Sources: 

https://www.fwi.co.uk/livestock/pigs/6-causes-pig-infertility-avoid

https://www.pigprogress.net/Health/Health-Tool/diseases/Boar-infertility/#Causes

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