PhD defence

Reducing performance variation of piglets in a multi-suckling system

PhD candidate T (Tianyue) Tang MSc
Promotor WJJ (Walter) Gerrits
Co-promotor NM (Nicoline) Soede
External copromotor Inonge Reimert
Carola M.C. van der Peet-Schwering
Organisation Wageningen University, Animal Nutrition, Wageningen Institute of Animal Sciences (WIAS)

Tue 21 February 2023 11:00 until Sat 21 January 2023 12:30

Venue Omnia
Room Auditorium


In recent years, multi-suckling systems with an extended lactation for sows and their litters have been developed to improve animal welfare. However, a problem of these systems is a large variation in growth rate of piglets, which hampers their introduction in current all-in-all-out pig production. In this thesis the causes of this variation and interventions to reduce this variation were studied. Among 12 piglet traits, we found that birthweight and feed intake play an important role in explaining the variation of their growth rate in early and late lactation, respectively. However, more than 55% of the variation in growth rate remained unexplained by the traits studied. We also investigated two interventions (i.e. timing of grouping litters and split-weaning of the heavy piglets), but they did not have an obvious effect on reducing piglet growth rate variation. This thesis further provides insights for taking other measures to reduce piglet growth rate variation in multi-suckling systems.