A consulting veterinarian we’ve utilized for years at Klocke Farms has the heart of a teacher. He likes to stay focused on the fundamentals and uses phrases that stick in your head long after he heads back to the office. We often catch ourselves repeating these one-liners when we talk about the MealMeter feed dispenser. Yes, he’s a good teacher.
We were reminded of one of them recently that sums up the importance of feed intake at key points in a sow’s reproductive cycle.
“Reproduction is a luxury.”
Basically, a sow’s primary physiological goal is to keep herself alive. Only when her needs are met and she is in the right body condition is her body able to successfully reproduce. Therefore, reproduction is a secondary goal, or a luxury.
A sow enters into a catabolic state when she begins lactation. This means that if she’s not consuming enough calories, she will rapidly burn through her fat stores. Losing condition quickly in lactation increases the sow’s likelihood of prematurely leaving the herd due to reproductive failure. Because her body’s primary objective is survival, her body’s energy is going to be solely focused on building back those fat stores.
However, our consulting vet points out that even in the best of conditions, a sow is still in a catabolic state in lactation. No matter how much she eats, she’s still burning fat. And if she drops off feed post wean, her body could still be burning those fat stores for 2-4 more days.
Jumping species, he recently told us about this Holstein in Wisconsin that broke the record for gallons of milk produced in a year. He said even with this cow in the best of conditions and eating top notch feed, she still ended up losing 300 lbs.
We all think sows can make up for it throughout gestation, but research indicates that the best shot for a sow to rebound is in the first trimester.
This is why feed intake post wean is imperative to the sow’s reproductive success. A sow can rapidly rebound post wean in the right conditions and when given a chance. As pork producers, it is our job to ensure all of the sow’s needs are met before we can expect her to produce and milk large litters.
We hear from consultants and experts across the industry that we need to feed as much as we can to newly weaned sows. And we all try. Unfortunately, what you end up with is a bunch of feed to clean up.
That’s why we developed the MealMeter. The MealMeter for weaned sows serves as a transition from lactation to the gestation barn. It gives each sow TIME needed for her to eat fresh feed when she’s ready for it without the waste associated with feeding weaned sows. If she’s ready to eat at 10:00 at night, feed remains fresh in the tube ready for that moment. In a typical setting, her feed would either be washed down to her neighbor or remain stale and eventually build up into a mess.
Farms using the MealMeter see improvement in feed intake, and the benefits of that are widespread. At Klocke Farms, we observed an improvement in overall sow herd condition and that translated into higher sow longevity and a huge increase in pigs per sow per lifetime. PigEasy customers are noticing are getting similar results as they have greatly improved feed intake while at the same time reducing feed and water waste.
Reproduction is a luxury so it is important to make sure she is in a condition that allows for a successful subsequent litter. The MealMeter can help you accomplish that. Visit pigeasy.comor call (888) 354-0112 to learn more.
Until next time,
*** We have a new set up option for the MealMeter in breeding called the breeder bowl. For more information, call (888) 354-0112 or email Katie (firstname.lastname@example.org).