Piglet OK programme


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The best possible start in life for new-born piglets is essential for the improvement of production and piglet health. Ideally piglets are healthy and viable at birth and able to ingest enough colostrum in the first hours after birth. GD has developed a programme to measure gestation, farrowing and colostrum management indicators, creating a point of departure from which to influence a piglet’s chance to survive and thrive. The programme consists of an online tool with which to score farrowing management combined with a colostrum and milk intake scoring system.

Why participate

  • Increase the number of live-born piglets. Stillborn piglets are evaluated to check for problems during gestation and/ or farrowing. Using a validated protocol, we measure growth parameters, mummies and stress to analyse the cause of stillbirth.
  • Reduce mortality during the suckling period. 
  • Improve piglet health and survival after weaning.

What sampling is involved

  • A monthly online audit of stillborn piglets using figures based on scoring parameters collected in the farrowing units. The number of live and stillborn piglets are scored according a fixed protocol 2 days after farrowing.
  • Ten sow colostrum samples taken 3 per year and analysed for protein content.
  • Piglet blood samples (2 days old): 50 samples 3 times per year. Analyses of Abs and fat metabolism.

How you get advised

  • GD experts interpret the results and provide a partum scoring, piglet scoring and colostrum intake scoring. These results form the basis of our advice on changes to gestation, farrowing and colostrum management.
  • An annual visit by our experts to assess the farrowing house and working protocols, to train farm workers on how to collect data and samples and to discuss results and follow-up.
  • PCR testing of the processing fluid on the FTA card can be added, in order to check for Parvo and PRRS abortion.

Our expert


Manon Houben, DVM

I have been working as a pig veterinarian for over twenty years. Since 2017 I am proud to be able to call myself a registered European Specialist in pig health management. In 1997 I started as a veterinarian in a mixed practice where I was supporting pig farmers. After four years I made the switch to the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Utrecht. During these years it became increasingly clear to me at that improving health in a sustainable way a holistic approach of the farm is the only way. This resulted in the establishment of PorQ, a veterinary consultancy in pig farming, which focuses on health instead of disease and on prevention and hygiene instead of cure.

I currently work as manager of the swine health department of Royal GD. Here I support, together with a team of veterinarians and the laboratory, Dutch veterinarians and pig farmers in the care of the health of their pigs.

Fields of expertise and publications


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