Shunt fostering is a way of making additional sows available to support new-born piglets that find themselves without a sow.

Supplementary rearing boxes have been used for many years to reduce pressure on existing farrowing accommodation and can be used as the first step in a shunt foster. A whole litter of piglets approximately 12 days of age is moved into the box. Piglets 4 days old are then moved onto that available sow, freeing up a further sow to foster some new-born piglets. (In the UK, these systems can only be routinely used from day 21).

Piglets housed in rearing boxes  are traditionally (or have traditionally been) offered liquid milk from a pumped system which can present management and labour challenges as well as the purchase, installation and maintenance of the milk system.

Trials show Axcelera-P is an easier way to support piglets in a box, without the cost and management time of using liquid milk. Axcelera-P is a high lactose pellet that has proven to reduce pre-weaning mortality and accelerate lifetime growth after weaning. It is a highly palatable first feed that is attractive to piglets.

From day 12, piglets are moved into the supplementary feeding box and are each offered a total of 400g -1kg of Axcelera-P  depending on performance followed by the nursery diet used on the farm.

At one farm using this system 400g of Axcelera-P was fed prior to their starter  feed (4.5kg per piglet) until they left the box at 30 days of age.

The following is average data recorded from several trials using Axcelera-P.

Average age in 11d
Average age out 30d
Weight in (kg) 3.6
Weight out (kg) 8.15
Gain (kg) 4.55
kg/head 1st creep (Initiate 4) 0.4
kg/head 2nd creep (Ultra gain) 4.5
DLWG 239
FCR 1.08
Mortality in box (%) 0.8


Other producers with surplus farrowing crates have removed the sow at 21 days and left the litter in the crate until weaned  at 28 days offering 1kg Axcelera-P in an added large bowl feeder along with the nursery starter diet in the crate’s creep feeder.

Axcelera-P provides pig farmers with a quick and easy way of supporting 12 day old piglets in a rearing box without the cost and management time of installing and running a milk system.