Day one leads ensure proper pig care for Iowa Select

posted on Saturday, January 2, 2016

We’d like to introduce Becky and Sarah. They work together at the Rout Sow Farm located near Dows, where Becky manages the farrowing department and Sarah is the day one specialist. Every week Becky, Sarah and their entire farrowing team assist 174 sows with their births and then quickly get the newborn piglets stimulated by hand-drying them with a towel, rubbing them with a drying agent and then placed under heat lamps to provide them warmth.

Both know their contribution to producing one billion pounds of pork in 2016. In addition to meeting all of the farrowing targets for the farm, Becky puts extra effort into training her team, especially new employees. “It’s rewarding to see the point in time when they realize their personal impact and the difference they can make in saving pigs.”

Sarah, the day one lead, said her contribution is to assist with births, sometimes by sleeving the sow to gently pull out pigs that are having trouble navigating their way out. An effort she says saves piglets during birth and brings up the born alive number.

At birth, pigs have no circulating antibodies to protect them against disease, which means the sow must provide antibodies to her offspring through her colostrum. Besides warming the piglets, the next critical step for the farrowing team is to make sure each pig receives colostrum within 24 hours of life.

“Sometimes a piglet can’t get to a teat, or a litter is too big,” explains Sarah. “At that point we step in again to help get that piglet ‘attached’ and nursing or even cross foster piglets, meaning we might move them to different sow who is nursing a smaller litter.”

Both Becky and Sarah are critical members of the caretaking team, and throughout the course of the year will dedicate their time and attention to weaning over 100,000 pigs at the Rout Sow Farm. Their dedication and commitment will make a huge contribution to producing one billion pounds of pork. Way to go Sarah and Becky! #billionpounds