The farrowing process has a major influence on the vitality of the piglets. The faster the farrowing goes, the more vital the piglets are and the better they start up. To make the casting process go as smoothly as possible, extra attention to the details is important.
On average, the farrowing process takes around 4 to 5 hours, but sometimes sows take longer than this average. When this is the case, the first-born piglets have an advantage over the last-born piglets. The first-born piglets ingest the most colostrum with the highest levels of antibodies, which means that the last-born piglets are significantly behind in colostrum intake.
As a result of the start of lactation, the sow’s calcium requirement increases. The calcium requirement is increased not only for the associated milk production, but also for muscle contractions of the uterus. Research shows that the provision of calcium before farrowing has a positive effect on the farrowing process. Shortening the length of farrowing and reducing the number of stillborn piglets (Moore et al., 2018).