Secretariat

Annette Pontillo
Institute of Organic Farming

Trenthorst 32
23847 Westerau
Phone: +49 4539 8880 0
ol@thuenen.de



Prolonged suckling period

Project

 (c) Thünen-Institut

Diminishing piglet losses: Effects of a prolonged suckling period

Organic and conventionel sows have the same litter size but organic piglet production is characterised by a lower number of sold piglets per litter - possibly by reason of the, to all intents and purposes, well-intentioned suckling period of usually 6 weeks.

Background and Objective

The organic piglet suckling period typically takes about 6 weeks due to the minimum requirement of 40 days of the EC Regulation 2092/91. But piglets weaned in such a period
are often characterized by less performance and bad health status. It was the aim of the present study to examine whether a prolonged suckling period of 63 days results in better performance (module 1, testing station of the Thuenen Institute) and immune status (module 2, LMU Munic - Chair of Animal Welfare, Ethology, Animal Hygiene and Animal Housing) of the piglets.

Approach

Therefore, 36 sows were divided into 2 groups of 18 sows each as a control group with 42 days of suckling period and
a test group with 63 days of suckling period. The rearing period for both the control group and the test group ended on day 77 p.n. In module 1, three farrowing cycles with 108 litters were recorded; in module 2, only the last two farrowing cycles with 72 litters were recorded.

Results

The extended suckling period of 9 weeks resulted in
- a significantly improved growth rate, in a significantly reduced number of medically treated piglets, and did not affect the body condition and teats of the sows negatively (module 1).
- the same immune status of piglets with a 6 weeks suckling period.

A prolongation of the suckling period compared to the minimum requirement of the EEC Regulation 2092/91 is recommended.

Thünen-Contact


Involved Thünen-Partners


Involved external Thünen-Partners


Funding Body

  • Federal Ministry of Food und Agriculture (BMEL)
    (national, öffentlich)

Duration

12.2004 - 12.2007

More Information

Projekt type:
Project funding number: 03oe378
Funding program: Bundesprogramm Ökologischer Landbau und andere Formen nachhaltiger Landwirtschaft (BÖLN)
Project status: finished

Publications

hits: 6

  1. Ahrens F, Sünkel Y, Pollmüller T, Bussemas R, Weißmann F, Erhard MH (2009) Influence of two different stressors, weaning and immunization, on the plasma histamine level of organic farming piglets. Inflamm Res 58(Suppl. 1):S53-S54, DOI:10.1007/s00011-009-2005-3
  2. Bussemas R, Weißmann F (2009) Verlängerte Säugezeit - kein Schaden für die Sau und von Nutzen für die Ferkel. In: Beiträge zur 10. Wissenschaftstagung Ökologischer Landbau : Werte - Wege - Wirkungen: Biolandbau im Spannungsfeld zwischen Ernährungssicherung, Markt und Klimawandel ; Bd. 2: Tierhaltung, Agrarpolitik und Betriebswirtschaft, Märkte und Lebensmittel. Berlin: Köster, pp 115-118
  3. Ahrens F, Pollmüller T, Sünkel Y, Bussemas R, Weißmann F, Erhard MH (2008) Einfluss unterschiedlicher Absetzzeitpunkte auf den immunologischen Status von Ferkeln im ökologischen Landbau. In: Tagung der Fachgruppe "Tierschutz" in Verbindung mit der Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Umwelt Nürtingen-Geislingen und der Tierärztlichen Vereinigung für Tierschutz; Nürtingen, 21.-22. Febuar 2008. Gießen: DVG, p 10
  4. Bussemas R, Weißmann F (2008) Länger saugen lassen. Bio Land(7):19-20
  5. Ahrens F, Pollmüller T, Sünkel Y, Bussemas R, Weißmann F, Erhard MH (2008) Prolonged suckling period in organic piglet production : effects on selected immunological parameters. In: Neuhoff D, Halsberg N, Alföldi T (eds) Cultivating the future based on science : proceedings of the Second Scientific Conference of the International Society of Organic Agriculture Research (ISOFAR), held at the 16th IFOAM Organic World Congress in Cooperation with the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) and the Consorzio ModenaBio, 18 - 20 June 2008 in Modena, Italy ; vol.2 Livestock; socio-economy and cross disciplinary research in organic agriculture. Bonn: ISOFAR, pp 142-145
  6. Bussemas R, Weißmann F (2008) Prolonged suckling period in organic piglet production : effects on some performance and health aspects. In: Neuhoff D, Halsberg N, Alföldi T (eds) Cultivating the future based on science : proceedings of the Second Scientific Conference of the International Society of Organic Agriculture Research (ISOFAR), held at the 16th IFOAM Organic World Congress in Cooperation with the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) and the Consorzio ModenaBio, 18 - 20 June 2008 in Modena, Italy ; vol.2 Livestock; socio-economy and cross disciplinary research in organic agriculture. Bonn: ISOFAR, pp 106-109