Book gathers latest biological knowledge on possibilities and challenges related to management of suckling and weaned piglets.

November 3, 2020

2 Min Read
New international textbook focuses on suckling, weaned piglets

Recently, two researchers from the Aarhus University department of animal science in Denmark contributed to a new international book titled The Suckling & Weaned Piglet, which focuses on a wide range of the challenges related to the management of suckling and weaned piglets.

The book addresses students of agrobiology, veterinary students, agricultural apprentices and others interested in agriculture and animal production.

“It is important that the teaching of future pig producers and consultants uses [Aarhus University’s] extensive research within the pig’s nutrition, health and welfare. This book pinpoints the two biggest challenges in pig production: the suckling piglet and the newly weaned piglet,” professor Jan Tind Sørensen with the Aarhus department of animal science said.


The content of the book covers a wide field -- for example, subjects like the newborn piglet’s biology and immune system, risk factors related to survival, piglet growth during the first days, challenges related to hyperprolific sows and large litters, the announcement said. Furthermore, the book also covers consequences of management interventions such as tooth resection and castration, feeding and gut development.

Aarhus department of animal science senior researcher Mette S. Herskin contributed to the chapter "Husbandry Interventions in Suckling Piglets, Painful Consequences & Mitigation."

She said, “Our knowledge on pain in pigs and our possibilities to alleviate pain in pigs under production conditions lag behind the way, for example, dogs or cats are treated after the same interventions. This applies for all ages in pigs, including the young ones, covered by this book. Therefore, I am very happy to have had the opportunity to contribute to the chapter on painful interventions, thereby drawing attention to the pig — also the very young pig — in this area." She added that the Aarhus department of animal science "worked at lot within this field. In this way, the results from Danish research also come into play internationally.”

Aarhus department of animal science professor Lene Juul Pedersen also contributed a chapter. "In recent decades, many breeding companies have focused on increasing the litter size in sows. This means that, today, the number of piglets a sow must rear is far higher than 10-15 years ago. This is a management challenge, especially regarding the weakest piglets and the sows in order to limit mortality and negative consequences for animal welfare," Pedersen said. "Such targeted interventions aiming to save newborn piglets and ensuring animal welfare has been — and is still — a focus area of research at our department. In order to disseminate the research-based knowledge about effects of the different methods and consequences for welfare, I have been delighted to contribute to the chapter ‘Managing the Litter from Hyperprolific Sows’.”

The book was published by Wageningen Academic Publishers and is accessible via Several chapters in the book are open access and can be downloaded for free.

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