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Teat Performance

Uneven or non functioning teats is quite common in pigs and the Kunekune is no exception. You should assess the teats during your overall selection process. Both male and female contribute their genetics to offspring, therefore it is important that you place equal importance on the sow and boar in your breeding selection.


Producing 100% evenly spaced, working teats is not easy to achieve but should be a goal you are trying to reach. Piglet survival and performance is tied to the total number of teats, and the total number functioning teats. This said, breeders know that it is also possible for Kunekune sows with uneven teats to rear a successful litter. Even if it is not ideal, your situation might warrant keeping that sow in production.


Proper selection of your breeding stock will improve overall Kunekune confirmation and increase your profit margin. A Kunekune with 10 or more even teats, nicely aligned and all functioning has greater economic value.


When assessing your piglets and breeding stock look for:

  • Well spaced teats from front to back

  • Even alignment on both sides

  • Teats are starting well forward and extending down the entire belly in a gentle arc

  • Teats are not to close or to far from the center line

  • Teats are all functioning (this is sometimes difficult to assess when they are young and might not be detected until the sows lactation)

Below are two examples of nice teats taken from week old piglets. My assessment at this age would be:

  1. They have 10 or more teats

  2. The teats are evenly spaced front to back

  3. The teats are paired nicely

  4. The teats are prominent and likely to all be functioning

  5. The teats start well forward of middle and extend down the entire abdomen

  6. The teat lines are in good alignment on the abdomen

In the second photo I might keep an eye on the top right teat. I am a little uncertain as there was a scab on the tip.

Assessment of teats should continue through maturity and into their first parity.


RESEARCH ARTICLES

GSE Journal

The Pig Site

National Hog Farmer




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