After farrowing, a good start for the sow is essential.

The sow must be geared to deliver lots of milk. Preferably of high quality.

And to as many piglets as possible.

In this post, you can read about what you need to pay particular attention to before farrowing and after farrowing.

If you want more practical advice for zinc-free weaning, you can download your guide for free here.


Successful weaning begins in the gestation unit.

The sow needs to be in top condition before you focus on tuning the piglets. Already before birth, you can influence the piglets through the sow.

The sow should have the optimum conditions to care for the piglets and be assisted in delivering the best possible pigs at weaning – in terms of health.

Ensure that the sow gets precisely the amount of feed and water she needs to perform optimally.

If you have challenges with the sow’s health, you most likely have challenges with zinc-free weaning.

If you take good care of the sow, she will take good care of the piglets.


The sow needs enough feed to get through farrowing and energy to supply a good milk production afterwards.

A sow with a low energy level prolongs farrowing, and a long farrowing increases the risk of stillbirths.

In the past, a complete feeding stop has been practiced during farrowing. The purpose was to prevent the sow from standing up while eating and afterwards crushing the piglets when laying back down.

But the fact is that a sow well on its way to farrowing rarely gets up when fed. Therefore, it is better to allow the sow to eat if she wants to – unrestricted.

Make sure that the sow has its energy need covered. A Danish sow should eat at least three feed units on the day of farrowing. The energy supplied depends on where your farm is located. Italian sows eat less and need a more high-energy feed than a Danish sow. Feeding should take place three times, evenly distributed over the day. For example, at 7 AM, 1 PM, and 8 PM.

start with the sow and get healthy weaners - health check


The sow must be “fit for duty” after farrowing to make sure that the sow is ready for milking.

If you don’t already have a plan, my best advice is to make a
plan with your veterinarian by answering:

How do you make sure the sow recovers? Which procedures are necessary?

Examples of content in the recovery plan:
• Should sows you helped with farrowing receive antibiotics?
• Should all sows receive pain relievers after farrowing?
• Is Oxytocin necessary?
• Should you measure the temperature? What’s the temperature limit of the sow? Does the sow catch a fever in the bud to abrupted eating?
• Is the udder hard? Is the sow lying on the udder, or is she calling the piglets?

Our experience is that a recovery procedure for the individual sow helps to reduce:
• Crushed pigs
• Pigs dead from starvation

The plan also increases the likelihood of the sow getting off to a good start with milk production.


Get more tips on healthy sows and weaners in the guide.

get-ready-for-zincfree-weaning download


Training the piglets for feed
EP200 - compare your price for soy protein in the weaner feed_thumbnail INT.
How to plan the daily routine in the sections
Start by the sow and get healthier weaners
Dont forget to check the water in the weaner section
Losing time and money on hard water for the pigs?
How to feed the pigs after weaning
Get the right amount of protien in the weaning feed
Hvordan tarmsundhed bidrager til mere mælk hos soen
More vital and uniform piglets


European Protein is a Danish family-owned protein producer. We work to promote health and productivity for animals through functional and sustainable plant proteins. The company was founded in 2011 and has protein factories in Denmark, Ukraine and the US.

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