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At this 1500 head sow farm, it is Tuesday and breeding technicians are checking sows for heat. Some at the end of their heat cycle, may no longer be in heat. A few are just beginning to come into heat.
This heat check boar is trained and knows exactly what to do. It is important to have at least 2 boars to use for heat detection.
Pressure on the back and pulling on the flank are good stimulation techniques to determine if the sow is in heat. The idea is to mimic what a boar would do in a natural service setting.
The technician is using backpressure to check if sows are still in heat and ready to receive another insemination. If she does not become immobilized, she should not receive an additional insemination.
When a boar gets close to a sow in heat, she stands up and becomes perfectly still with her ears erect. This sow is in standing heat. The position of the boar directly in front of the sow and with nose-to-nose contact is perfect for heat detection. Another characteristic of a sow in heat is a swollen and red vulva like this one.
Another characteristic of a sow in heat is a swollen and red vulva like this one.
When you use an aisle gate, it is best to have one gate for every 5 or 6 sows.