Colostrum intake by newborn piglets was studied by weighing piglets every 10 min for their first 1-4 h with the sow, and their cumulative weight increases were used as estimates of colostrum intake. In seven litters, four piglets were monitored for 4 h beginning about 2 h after the birth of the first piglet in order to determine if colostrum is available continuously or released in discrete ejections. There was little synchrony between litter-mates in their intake in the first hour, but by the second hour of monitoring (starting about 3 h after farrowing began), much of the colostrum was released in discrete ejections and piglets achieved most of their intake during the few 10-min intervals when an ejection occurred. To examine the effect of birth sequence, four piglets were added to the udder each hour for 3 consecutive hours. Piglets added in the last hour showed a small but significant tendency (P < 0.05) to obtain less colostrum than those added in the middle of the sequence. In nine litters, three piglets were confined to posterior and three to anterior teats for 1.5 h to examine the effect of teat position. Those on posterior teats had slightly but significantly (P = 0.02) lower estimated intake than piglets on anterior teats. Although low-birth-weight piglets, late-born piglets, and piglets sucking only posterior teats tended to obtain less colostrum, the differences were small, and most piglets obtained an amount of colostrum consistent with normal serum immunoglobulin concentration
Fraser, D., & Rushen, J. (1992). Colostrum intake by newborn piglets. Canadian journal of animal science, 72(1), 1-13.