Today we have 3 sows in standing heat. We collect our own boar, or we ship semen in from a different farm. Either way, the easiest thing to do is breed everyone the same week.
There are several reasons for this. It decreases time required for checking heat and breeding sows. It minimizes the time we need to hold the cooled semen. It also lines up farrowing to minimize the time required to oversee piglets being born.
The easiest way to synchronize sows is to orally administer altrenogest. This comes in many different brand names such as Matrix, SwineMate, or ChronoMate just to name a few.
The protocol we use is to give 6.8 ml by mouth once daily for 14 days. The gilts/sows will begin to show estrus in 3-5 days after stopping administration of the altrenogest.
We inseminate 12 hours after the first sign of standing heat in gilts and 24 hours in sows.
This is a hormone and should be handled with care. Here are the safety recommendations for using this medication.
We designate one male person to give the altrenogest. The bottles always leak, so we also store it on a plastic bag. Syringes don’t hold up well, and we change those out often.
It can be given directly in the mouth, if your pigs are used to people handling them. It can also be given as a top dress for feed if they are in individual pens. At times we will apply it to bread and feed each female an individual medication “treat “.
You must keep good records. We use a white board in our barn. Every day there is a checklist for administration with a start and stop date.
Best of luck in your swine endeavors!