A "nurse sow" is a sow that has weaned her own piglets, but has continued to to feed another sow's litter.
It is known that using a nurse sow in pig production can deliver important productivity improvement, however, when not planned properly, it can cause losses.
Several aspects must be considered before executing nurse sow, such as; the method of handling the nurse sow, the category of females that will be used, the body score, the nutrition used for the nurse sows, the length of the lactation period that they will be exposed to and also, the number of piglets that will be distributed to each of them.
Most farms use the nurse sow after weaning the sow's original litter, after an average of 21 days of lactation. The new litter will be weaned from the mother on average after 21 days of lactation. In this case, the sow will remain on average of 42 days in the maternity hospital and will go through two consecutive lactation periods, the first being her own litter and the second lactating period as a nurse sow.