Pigs in many ways are similar to humans, so why for ‘baby people’ do we worry about cleanliness and washing and sterilising and what they put in their mouths, but not so much for baby pigs? I don’t quite understand why when we are producing these animals as a business we would overlook something as simple as cleaning which can make such a difference to the health and growth rates of pigs. Maybe we would be better putting the piglets in the crib and the children outside on the farm?
So how should you be cleaning your farm? Well, poo is our main nemesis. It carries bacteria, viruses and is actually quite high in protein and fat making it stubborn to shift. I’m sure you’ve all heard the comparison before, but imagine the pen floor as the pan from your morning fry-up. Washing it with a bit of cold water, even at quite high pressure, still won’t get the greasiness off. You need to add Fairy Liquid. For the best cleaning you need to soak your pen in detergent, just like your frying pan. Then you need to rinse it (hot water is best). It is important than to let it dry, no tea towels on the farm but a bit of fresh air or even heaters should do the job. Then as you would sterilise the babies things, you need to sterilise the pig's things, but for the pigs' environment, you need to use a disinfectant. Then you should rest the pen for as long as possible, this is to allow any bacteria remaining after your cleaning to die before you re-fill the building with pigs.
As with babies, the younger the pigs are the more important the cleaning regime is, with farrowing and weaner house hygiene being the most crucial. However, these principles should still be applied to grower and finishers, as good cleaning and disinfection can improve growth rates and stop disease transmission between batches. You can read more on this in our previous blog here.
For further information please contact Zoetis UK Limited, Walton Oaks, Dorking Road, Tadworth, Surrey KT20 7NS. www.zoetis.co.uk Customer Support: 0845 300 8034 Use medicines responsibly (www.noah.co.uk/responsible). Date of preparation: March 2017. AH245/17
Laura graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 2009; after her veterinary degree she went to the University of Nottingham to undertake a PhD specialising in enteric disease of the young pig. After being awarded her PhD Laura spent a very enjoyable three years in a specialist pig practice in the South West of England. She then took the leap into Industry and joined the Zoetis pig team in September 2016.
She decided on specialising in pigs before qualifying as a vet and has not looked back since; she is very passionate about welfare and the success of British Pig Farming!
In her free time Laura is also passionate about good food and wine, fortunately the eating and drinking is balanced out by the love of walking, trips to the gym and Sunday morning runs.