- Animals: swine
- Animal Production: housing, vaccines, watering systems
Hog producers on Guam lose many piglets each year to diarrhea, which occurs when the piglets are one to two weeks old and one to two weeks after weaning. Despite the piglet diarrhea costs to producers, no effort has been made to solve the problem. Ricardo Cruz, owner of Columbus Piggery in Barrigada, will use his Western SARE grant to alleviate the problem and share the information.
Cruz will first identify the bacterial strain that causes the diarrhea by collecting stool samples and rectal swabs from neonatal and postnatal pigslets with diarrhea. Once identified, the bacteria will be administered to a group of pregnant sows to increase the immunity of piglets to diarrhea. Experimental piglets will also be treated with an appropriate antibiotic. The resistance of the treated piglets will then be compared with a control group.
To solve the problem of diarrhea in recently weaned piglets, traditionally transferred to pens with wet, cold concrete floors that predispose the piglets to diarrhea, Cruz will test his design for improved weaning facilities. This includes new pens with woven wire floors that can be elevated a foot high over existing growing pens, treatment tanks and nipple waterers. He will compare the health of piglets in the new and traditional weaning pens.