The effect of supplementing a piglet milk replacer in the farrowing house stands or falls with proper hygiene. ‘Pig farmers too easily assume they can get the milk system clean with a standard cleaning method,’ says Marc Spacker. ‘If this is done with Intra Hydrocare, they score on milk safety and efficiency.’
After the colostrum period, many sow farmers automatically feed a piglet milk to the piglets with a circulation system with cups. ‘It takes workmanship to serve a milk product to the young piglets with maximum safety,’ says Marc Spackler, technical sales manager at Intracare. ‘Piglet guts are sensitive, and diarrhoea develops quickly if the hygiene isn’t perfect. The piglet are then disadvantaged instead of giving them a head start. In cups and systems filled with warm milk, biofilm formation is an explicit risk. ‘Milk fat, proteins and other nutrients are an excellent subsstrate for bacteria. Enterobacteria can multiply explosively,’ Spackler knows. ‘Germs protect themselves by forming slime that attaches inside the milk line. This creates an impenetrable layer in the milk circuit. Germs will be released from this biofilm over a long period of time and flow almost directly into the gut’. This is why sow farmers have to clean their milk system according to standard protocols. This is often done weekly, mostly every few days and involves alkaline cleaning regularly alternated with acids. ‘A 1960s cleaning method,’ Spackler calls it. ‘Milk deposits are difficult to remove. If you want to clean an empty glass of milk after a day, you have to scrub heavily. With Intra Hydrocare, an ultra-stabilised and slow-release hydrogen peroxide, milk deposits will disappear like snow in the sun.’
Cleaning every week
Spackler advises sow farmers to thoroughly clean the milk lines and cups once a week. This can be done with the Intra Hydrocare registered by ECHA for the new Biocides Regulation (BPR) and is safe for animals, humans and the environment. ‘Use water at 65 degrees Celsius with a 2 to 3 % solution of Intra Hydrocare and cirulate it for 30 to 60 minutes while the piglets can’t drink it. A quick rinse with warm water and the milk can be put back on the system,’ explains Marc. ‘Circulating with that effervescent solution removes the biofilm in the complete milk system over and over again. As a result, there will also be much less wear and tear on the pumps, pipes and nipples.’ Eliminating the risk factor for developing gut problems is what it’s all about. ‘In a study we conducted with a piglet milk supplier on a cup system with the prescribed alkaline cleaning compared to the new Intra Hydrocare method, this had quite an effect on the results,’.
So clean milk systems definitely contribute to animal health, animal welfare, and performance.
Text: JOS THELOSEN
Image: STUDIO VAN ASSENDELFT