In this study the causes of preweaning piglet mortality in different types of farrowing facilities have been investigated. 1082 piglets were post-mortem examined and the cause of death was diagnosed.
The piglets came out from eight different farrowing systems, which were divided into three functional categories: FS1 - pens with lying and dunging area as well as straw, FS2+3 - pens without structuring or straw and KS1-5 ¿ crate systems. In total, 408 litters born in the investigated farrowing pens were recorded.
Of all born piglets (still and live born) the results showed the highest mortality rate in FS1 (30,3 %), followed from FS2+3 (25,8 %) and least piglet loss was shown in KS1-5 (18,5 %). Two thirds of all piglet deaths occurred in the first three days of their lives.
In detail, the cause of death differed in relation to the dependence on the farrowing system. The logistical regression-analysis resulted in a significantly (p<=0,05) higher probability of crushings in free farrowing pens (FS1, FS2+3) compared to crates (KS1-5). Moreover the probability for piglets dying of an illness, weakness or underdevelopment was higher in the KS1-5 than in the FS1 or FS2+3. The number of stillbirths was not affected by the type of farrowing system.
Apart from the farrowing facility other effects such as management, ambient temperature as well as sow- or piglet-specific effects were considered in the statistical analysis. Among other findings, the results showed an increased probability of piglets getting crushed if the ambient temperature is high and parity number rises. In addition differences in management did not influence the piglet losses.
Finally the results of the post-mortem examination were compared with producer-recorded causes of piglet mortality. The accordance was relative high for stillbirths (94,1 %) and crushings (85,9 %).
piglet / neonate / mortality / death cause / farrowing system / preweaning periode