When introducing new breeding stock to your operation, never add new gilts directly to your existing herd, warns John Waddell, DVM, director of Veterinary Services for Danbred North America.

The Sutton, NE, swine veterinarian says remember to follow a protocol of isolation and acclimation to assure the health of the receiving herd and the animals being introduced.

Waddell offers a basic set of guidelines to reduce the risk of disease introduction and to increase the chances of the new stock realizing its genetic potential.

Start by using a ‚Äúveterinarian to veterinarian‚ÄĚ dialogue to establish the health of the source herd and to ensure compatibility with the recipient herd, he says.

Isolation

By providing for isolation, buyers have time to detect any swine diseases that may have been incubating or encountered in transit to the receiving herd, says Waddell.

Follow these eight steps during isolation:

  • Thoroughly clean and disinfect all equipment new animals will come in contact with;

  • Inspect animals for transportation injuries, other problems or abnormalities;

  • Place gilts in isolation and make sure they find the water source immediately. They may be used to a different water delivery system.

  • Offer a high quality, nutrient-dense feed. Consider adding a feedgrade antimicrobial such as tylosin to prevent stress-related conditions such as porcine proliferative enteritis (ileitis);
  • Limit people traffic at the isolation unit to one person. Change clothing and boots prior to entering and upon exiting;

  • Follow a 28-day isolation period (minimum). Monitor animal health for signs of disease, loss of appetite or lameness and contact your veterinarian if symptoms persist;

  • Contact your breeding stock salesperson in the event of serious health complications, and

  • Schedule your herd veterinarian to take blood samples required by state or provincial health regulations.



Acclimation

Acclimation should be at least 21 days to allow new breeding animals to adjust and build immunity to match the rest of the breeding herd, says Waddell.

Feedback, fenceline contact and vaccinations may enhance acclimation. Base vaccine and antibiotic applications upon the recommendations of your veterinarian.

Recording heat detection results of replacement gilts during acclimation will ensure more effective matings following acclimation and reduce non-productive days, observes Waddell.

Replacement boars could be trained for mating or semen collection during this acclimation period.

For more details on these guidelines, log on to www.DanbredNorthAmerica. com or contact the company at 888-326-2733 in the U.S. and at 877-468-9994 in Canada.