Weaning of piglets at the age of 40 or 42 days is a challenging time for the young animals as well as for farmers. Frequently it leads to a diarrhoea which influences the welfare of the piglets. Diarrhoea can also cause a decline in performance, in some cases even the death of the animals.
An extension of the suckling period was evaluated very positively in a study by the German Thünen Institute concerning welfare and the health of piglets. Since summer 2016, selected experts and practitioners have been working on a possible implementation of the extended suckling period of organic piglets in Austria. The successful collaboration will evaluate effects on the welfare of piglets, piglet health and treatment incidence as well as effects on the sows and the economic results. Furthermore model farms should be established and the results of this work are intended to present challenges as well as provide explanations for the implementation of the extended suckling period.