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Handrearing - How much and what?

Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 8:59 pm
by CarolineB
We've decided to bring our runt in - he know he had a few feeds in the first 24 hours but since then we suspect he's had nothing and he's got quite lethargic.
I have baby milk in the house - so I offered him a 50:50 mix - milk to water. I understand it's okay to use baby milk, but I'm not sure how much and how often. he's takign it from the bottle quite well.

Is there a preferred baby milk mix?
And how often does he want feeding?
If he does okay I think we'll try him on lap bowls tomorrow.


Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 9:40 pm
by ukag0972
I think if you get him to take 30 mls at a time then your doing well.
If you've got him on a bottle you're winning! Well done!

I handreared one and I fed him with a 1ml syringe (at the back of his throat) every hourish for the first 3days. It was like having a child!!

You should think about ordering some pigs milk from your local vets or feed supplier as it usually takes a few days for it to come.

You might be abit early in trying him to slurp from a bowl.

Good luck

Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 9:58 pm
by CarolineB
Well, we thought we'd try him on a plate and he's instantly lapped all that up. he's already a diff pig. I wish now we'd tried feedign him outside first so he could have stayed with the others but he's here now.
I have a 10 month old baby - I still get up at 4am... this feels like when we first brought her home!

So, can we reintroduce him to the others when he's stronger. to play. I understand that mummy pig isn't goign to have him back but at some point he can't live in our house.

Posted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 1:37 pm
by ukag0972
Providing mum is good natured, I would put him back after every feed during the day, I know it's not practical at night.
He then still associates with his siblings and may even try to feed from her, but he may not be as strong as them and get enough milk.
Well done !

Posted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 2:44 pm
by wendy scu
Yes, i would agree, put him back with the litter during the day. i would be very surprised if she even notices, :)

i recently bought a weaner to pair up with one i was selling and when i got him home he was too small to go anywhere with a gate (because he could get out) so i took a risk and put him with my sow and litter. Mum fed him along with the others as though he were her own and he left home yesterday with his 'sister' :) :)

Posted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 4:01 pm
by ukag0972
I have done that with Tamworths! A sow took on 3 of her sisters piglets with no hassle.
If you know that your sow well enough, you should be confident to try!!

Baby milk ?

Posted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 10:30 pm
by sarah-geoff
Hi Everyone, luckily I was reading through this yesterday and took in the idea that the runty one could have baby milk. so when I got a call from the kids to say that Strawberry the runtiest of our 2 day old litter was getting noticably smaller than her brothers and sisters and lethargic and didn't seem to be able to attach to a teat, I went and bought some baby milk on the way home. She is taking it from a bottle - far more that a few mls at a time - but I'm not sure if we should be diluting it or what? She has perked up hugely.. do we try keeping her withus tonight and putting her back with the rest of them in the morning ? That is the current plan, but I don't want us to overdose her on baby milk if it is too strong

Any advice very welcome


Posted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 7:56 am
by wendy scu
baby milk should be fine if mixed as instructions say.

definitely put her back with mum as soon as you can even if you have to keep supplementing her - they do much better if with mum and the litter.
if she is small and weak you run the risk of her being crushed so be sure to have a creep in place to draw her away from mum when not feeding.

Posted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 8:11 am
by sarah-geoff
Thaks Wendy, I bought ready mixed infant milk in a carton - she seems to like it.. I'll give her some more now and then try her back with the others but watch them through the day - its a good job the place is full of kids on school holidays - they have been watching like hawks!! :)

Posted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 8:56 am
by Dan
I have a week old runt too but I cant get her bottle feeding. Whenever I try she squeals like mad and wont take the teat. Ive tried forcing it in her mouth and squeezing the teat and she takes it for 5 seconds max then screams again. Been doing it 3-4 times a day for the last two days but shes still not taking to the teat.

She is feeding with all the others, in fact shes first to the teat and last off and suckles like mad but she is half the size and not putting on any weight. She is quite uinsteady on her legs too.

Do I need to keep perservering or do I have any other options?

Posted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 9:54 am
by wendy scu
Hi Dan, if she's survived for a week then she's doing something right!
if she were hungry she would be latching on to that teat like crazy. how many in the litter?
make sure she has every bit of help she needs - i would give her an iron supplement like kick star and vitesel injection to keep her strength up then the rest is up to her

Posted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 12:37 pm
by sarah-geoff
Hi All, We've put Strawberry back in. She is noticably smaller thatn the others and still a bit hunched up whereas they are bumbling around like nobody's business. My 13 yr old is taking her a bottle every couple of hours. He says he has tried and tried to latch her on to one of mum's teats but she just won't have it - although she's perfectly keen on the bottle. She's the smallest of 9 and it seems that mum's first 8 teats (which have been used before for her first litter) are working well but the last 2 are very inaccessible and very small and virtually empty. I guess that they need to be stimulated to produce the milk, but Strawberry is too pathetic to stimulate them - so round it goes.

Am I right in thinking that so long as we get some baby milk into her so she isn't actually lethargic and squashable, she'll sort it out herself in a day or so?? She slept with my daughter last night - who fed her a couple of times in the night. Will she be OK through the night with the others even if she can't 'latch on' , or should we bring her in at night for a while ?

We do have creep rails - but yesterday she had crept away by herself - which we didn't thinkwas that good! She's got a bit more energy now though.

Thanks for the advice, any other ideas very welcome :)

Posted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 1:38 pm
by wendy scu
Hi Sarah, have you got a heat lamp in the creep? this will encourage her away from the mum when she's not feeding which will lessen the chances of her being squashed. You're right about supply/demand with the milk, although for future ref i wuld avoid breeding from a sow unless she has at least ten well spaced and working teats.
If piglet isn't hungry (and she wont be if shes drinking from the bottle every couple of hours) then she won't be forced to latch on to a teat, and then 'her' teat will dry up with the lack of stimulation.

Bottle feeding can be an arduous task - it can also have its complications so if you can get her strong enough to let her go hungry, she should fight for her teat, although that needs to be established early or she just wont have one. Give her iron and vitamins as i mentioned above which will help her along. if she is under 4 days you can inject the iron

Posted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 2:16 pm
by sarah-geoff
Thanks Wendy, no we don't have a heat lamp as there is no electricity nearby and I thought she'd be OK having them in her own shed in August (we brought her nearer to the house and used a heat lamp in the winter!) I'll put a hot water bottle in for her - and the kids will keep checking!

Mum does have 10 teats - I just think the end 2 have never been 'got going' - we'll keep trying, and I take your point about getting Strawberry to work at it aswell!!

And I'll give her some vitamins etc too.

thanks again

Posted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 2:21 pm
by wendy scu
you're welcome, good luck :)