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Caring for newborn piglets

Posted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 1:23 pm
by CathB
Hi all,

I have a litter due anytime and feel pretty confident about the birth etc having farming in the blood, but wanted to get your views on caring for the piglets and mother once they're born.

I have heard of some people cutting the piglets teeth (not all just incisors I think), and also giving iron injections. I have also heard of people injecting the sow with ?? (can't remember name off the top of my head) to encourage her milk to come in.

This may all be necessary for commercial breeders, but i was wondering what my fellow kunekune keepers did.

Any advice greatly appreciated,

Thanks, Cath

New piglets

Posted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 2:49 pm
by Di
Hi Cath
In the past I have sat up with the sow whilst she is farrowing, had a heat lamp rigged up in the corner with a farrowing rail. Had towels ready to dry piglets off as soon as born, etc., etc.

Due to moving house this year and everything being frantic I had 3 litters that I just 'found'. Sows had farrowed in an outside arc (with straw in it) in the middle of a field and still with other sows and boar around. Apart from losing 2 piglets (out of 19) to the fox, they all thrived much better than the ones I have fussed over in the past. They were outside from day 2 and Dad and various Aunties took turns to babysit! Amazing.

I do not cut teeth or give iron injections. I understand that if they are on grass (and therefore soil) they will obtain the iron from this. Iron injections are necessary if they are kept in although a sod of soil will do instead.

My advice would be watch them, enjoy them and let Mum do the rest.


Posted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 8:28 pm
by wendy scu
Hi Cath,
some mums are excellent and will do everything themselves although i am one of those who does sit up with each litter born,

just had a second litter from my trish and she got up after the birth of each piglet, dug up the whole bed and then lay down again. i'm quite sure that if i hadn't been there we would have ended up with four dead piglets and two live ones!

I don't give the sow any injections but i do inject with iron and Vitesel (vit E and selenium) as i had a litter of 'diers' last year and on post mortem found the cause to be iron and selenium deficiency. never had it before but certainly don't want it again so am erring on the cautious side.

Posted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 9:49 pm
by Darrell
Hi Cath, my kunes are freerange,I always put the pregnant sow in a seperate ark just before farrowing.I help to deliver the piglets,cleaning them off and put them in a box until she has finished then make sure they all get the vital colostrum.I dont use heat lamps or iron injections.

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 7:51 am
by CathB
Thanks for all the advice. We're still waiting for Cilla to pop which she looks like she might do quite literally!!

What signs do you all look for to know birth is imminent? I would like to sit with her for the birth but don't want too many sleepness nights!

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 8:32 am
by Darrell
Gently squeeze the teets,if milk comes out they usually start labour within twelve hours.Good luck.

Posted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:47 am
by CathB
I promised myself I would be patient but I hate not knowing when the piglets will come.

We were sure Cilla was in labour last night. She'd been off her food all day, only nibbling, then was very restless and had laboured breathing from about 11pm-1pm so my husband and I took it in turns to check on her, but no piglets!! Then this morning she's as perky as anything and back into her grub!!

Still no milk, but her vulva is definitely swollen and she's so huge and low that if there aren't piglets in there something else is!

Posted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:15 am
by Darrell
I know what you mean with the waiting,my sow that farrowed last week didnt give birth till day 119. Sounds like yours are due very soon,have plenty of towels ready,you will use more than you thought cleaning all those piglets.