The present study aims to determine the occurrence of piglet pre-weaning mortality in commercial swine herds in Thailand in relation to piglet, sow, and environmental factors. Data were collected from the database of the computerized recording system from 47 commercial swine herds in Thailand. The raw data were carefully scrutinized for accuracy. Litters with a lactation length < 16 days or >28 days were excluded. In total, 199,918 litters from 74,088 sows were included in the analyses. Piglet pre-weaning mortality at the individual sow level was calculated as piglet pre-weaning mortality (%) = (number of littermate pigs − number of piglets at weaning) / number of littermate pigs. Litters were classified according to sow parity numbers (1, 2–5, and 6–9), average birth weight of the piglets (0.80–1.29, 1.30–1.79, 1.80–2.50 kg), number of littermate pigs (5–7, 8–10, 11–12, and 13–15 piglets), and size of the herd (small, medium, and large). Pearson correlations were conducted to analyze the associations between piglet pre-weaning mortality and reproductive parameters. Additionally, a general linear model procedure was performed to analyze the various factors influencing piglet pre-weaning mortality. On average, piglet pre-weaning mortality was 11.2% (median = 9.1%) and varied among herds from 4.8 to 19.2%. Among all the litters, 62.1, 18.1, and 19.8% of the litters had a piglet pre-weaning mortality rate of 0–10, 11–20, and greater than 20%, respectively. As the number of littermate pigs increased, piglet pre-weaning mortality also increased (r = 0.390, P < 0.001). Litters with 13–16 littermate pigs had a higher piglet pre-weaning mortality than litters with 5–7, 8–10, and 11–12 littermate pigs (20.8, 7.8, 7.2, and 11.2%, respectively; P < 0.001). Piglet pre-weaning mortality in large-sized herds was higher than that in small- and medium-sized herds (13.6, 10.6, and 11.2%, respectively; P < 0.001). Interestingly, in all categories of herd size, piglet pre-weaning mortality was increased almost two times when the number of littermates increased from 11–12 to 13–16 piglets. Furthermore, piglets with birth weights of 0.80–1.29 kg in large-sized herds had a higher risk of mortality than those in small- and medium-sized herds (15.3, 10.9, and 12.2%, respectively, P < 0.001). In conclusion, in commercial swine herds in the tropics, piglet pre-weaning mortality averaged 11.2% and varied among herds from 4.8 to 19.2%. The litters with 13–16 littermate pigs had piglet pre-weaning mortality of up to 20.8%. Piglets with low birth weight (0.80–1.29 kg) had a higher risk of pre-weaning mortality. Management strategies for reducing piglet pre-weaning mortality in tropical climates should be emphasized in litters with a high number of littermate pigs, low piglet birth weights, and large herd sizes.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Financial support for this study was provided by a grant for International Research Integration: Chula Research Scholar, Ratchadaphiseksomphot Endowment Fund. M. Nuntapaitoon is a grantee of the Research and Researchers for Industries (RRI) Ph.D. program (Thailand Research Fund).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Björkman, S., Oliviero, C., Rajala-Schultz, P.J., Soede, N.M., Peltoniemi, O.A.T., 2017. The effect of litter size, parity, farrowing duration on placenta expulsion and retention in sows. Theriogenology, 92, 36–44.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
Carney-Hinkle, E.E., Tran, H., Bundy, J.W., Moreno, R., Miller, P.S., Burkey, T.E., 2013. Effect of dam parity on litter performance, transfer of passive immunity, and progeny microbial ecology. Journal of Animal Science, 91, 2885–2893.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
Devillers, N., Farmer, C., Le Dividich, J., Prunier, A., 2007. Variability of colostrum yield and colostrum intake in swine. Animal, 1, 1033–1041.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
Herpin, P., Damon, M., Le Dividich, J., 2002. Development of thermoregulation and neonatal survival in pigs. Livestock Production Science, 78, 25–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kilbride, A.L., Mendl, M., Statham, P., Held, S., Harris, M., Cooper, S., Green, L.E., 2012. A cohort study of preweaning piglet mortality and farrowing accommodation on 112 commercial pig farms in England. Preventive Veterinary Medecine, 104, 281–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Le Dividich, J., Rooke, J.A., Herpin, P., 2005. Nutritional and immunological importance of colostrum for the new-born pig. Journal of Agricultural Science, 143, 469–485.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Malmkvist, J., Damgaard, B.M., Pedersen, L.J., Jørgensen, E., Thodberg, K., Chaloupková, H., Bruckmaier, R.M., 2012. Effects of thermal environment on hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis hormones, oxytocin, and behavioral activity in periparturient sows. Journal of Animal Science, 90, 3186–3199.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
Muns, R., Nuntapaitoon, M., Tummaruk, P., 2016. Non-infectious causes of preweaning mortality in piglets. Livestock Science, 184, 46–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Muns, R., Nuntapaitoon, M., Tummaruk, P., 2017. Effect of oral supplementation with different energy boosters in newborn piglets on pre-weaning mortality, growth and serological levels of IGF-I and IgG. Journal of Animal Science, 95, 353–360.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
Nardone, A., Ronchi, B., Lacetera, N., Ranieri, M.S., Bernabucci, U., 2010. Effects of climate changes on animal production and sustainability of livestock systems. Livestock Science, 130, 57–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nuntapaitoon, M., Tummaruk, P., 2015. Piglets pre-weaning mortality in a commercial swine herd in Thailand. Tropical Animal Health and Production, 47, 1539–1546.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
Roehe, R., Kalm, E., 2000. Estimation of genetic and environmental risk factors associated with PWM in piglets using generalized linear mixed models. Animal Science, 70, 227–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tummaruk, P., Sang-Gassanee, K., 2013. Effect of farrowing duration, parity number and the type of anti-inflammatory drug on postparturient disorders in sows: A clinical study. Tropical Animal Health and Production, 45, 1071–1077.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
Vasdal, G., Andersen, I.L., 2012. A note on teat accessibility and sow parity - consequences for newborn piglets. Livestock Science, 146, 91–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wegner, K., Lambertz, C., Das, G., Reiner, G., Gauly, M., 2016. Effects of temperature and temperature-humidity index on the reproductive performance of sows during summer months under a temperate climate. Animal Science Journal, 87, 1334–1339.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
Wientjes, J.G.M., Soede, N.M., Van der Peet-Schwering, C.M.C., Van den Brand, H., Kemp, B., 2012. Piglet uniformity and mortality in large organic litters: Effects of parity and pre-mating diet composition. Livestock Science, 144, 218–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wolf, J., Žáková, E., Groeneveld, E., 2008. Within–litter variation of birth weight in hyper prolific Czech Large White sows and its relation to litter size traits, stillborn piglets and losses until weaning. Livestock Science, 115, 195–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Zaleski, H.M., Hacker, R.R., 1993. Variables related to the progress of parturition and probability of stillbirth in swine. Canadian Veterinary Journal, 34, 109–113.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar