Rooms in pig facilities that are managed on an all-in, all-out system often look clean during a superficial inspection—but they frequently contain hidden reservoirs of infection that can reduce the benefits of the batch system, says Paul Thompson, veterinary consultant to UK pig-breeding company ACMC Ltd.

These reservoirs can result from inadequate cleaning of feeders, leaving stale food in hoppers and troughs, and insufficient cleaning around feeders, exposed pipes and pen corners. Periodic cleaning beneath slats is also necessary to achieve the full benefits from the system, Thompson says.

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He adds that water systems often contain large quantities of sludge in header tanks, so these should be cleaned out whenever possible. After cleaning, all drinking points should be checked to ensure they are fully operational and deliver the correct water flow-rate.

As a final precaution, Thompson recommends fumigation of rooms where possible to control vermin, which can be a major source of infection.