Weaning problems, how to prevent them?

There are a lot of challenges for a farmer concerning piglet rearing. A smooth transition around weaning is an important objective in this, but not always easy to achieve. In practice, we are confronted with a range of factors that potentially complicate our care for weaned piglets. How to avoid weaning problems? This article provides more information about the possible causes of weaning problems and practical tips to prevent them.

Piglets creepfeed

What could cause the possible problems in weaned piglets? – we have listed two important problems:

  • Weaning too early and/or weaning too light piglets.

            This oculd be caused by:

    • Insufficient colostrum intake by the piglets as a result of insufficient colostrum milk production by the sow,
    • Not enough additional feed intake,
    • High infection pressure in the pen affecting the piglets.
  • Management conditions that affect piglets after weaning.

           Examples of these are:

    • No optimal feed availability and transition from the moment of farrowing to weaning,
    • The temperature in the nursery is too cold,
    • Too many piglets in a pen (too high pen occupation),
    • Infection pressure that can affect the piglets.


To prevent problems directly after weaning, here are some (practical) tips:

Tips, before weaning:

  1. Ensure that the sow has good colostrum and milk production,
  2. Keep the infection pressure low, for instance through a good vaccination policy,
  3. Recommended is to feed the piglets twice a day.  Increase this to (preferably) 3 to 4 times a day the last week before weaning,
  4. Recommended is to not wean the piglets (too) early.

Tips, after weaning:

  1. Make sure that there is a good temperature in the pen after weaning. Recommended is to place the piglets after weaning in a preheated compartment. The advised temperature, for a semi-slatted floor, is a minimum temperature of 28 °C, and for a full-slatted floor minimum of 30 °C. When the piglets are at the moment of weaning lighter than 7 kg, it is advised to increase the temperature,
  2. Directly after weaning provide the piglets with sufficient feed availability. To provide a smooth transition and to stimulate good feed intake directly after weaning you could even place extra feed troughs with feed from the farrowing room through the pen,
  3. Water availability; make sure that there are enough water bowls available in the pen with fresh water,
  4. Make sure that it is not too crowded in the pen ( prevent overcrowding),
  5. Make sure there are sufficient feeding places: recommended is to have 1 feeding place per 10 piglets and 1 drinking water place per 10 piglets,
  6. To prevent digestive problems and for optimal intestinal health, use a weaning feed that fits your farm situation,
  7. Take care of the little ones; place all the smallest piglets together in a pen to provide them with enough attention and care.

Piglet eating solid feed

Want to know more?

If you have any questions or like to receive support, please feel free to contact one of our specialists.

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