[MUST READ] First Class Management of Piglets from birth to weaning
● Almost 50 % of the pigs that die on a farm, die before they are 14 days old. Good management in the farrowing house, where the piglets are born and kept for the first 28 to 35 days of their lives, is therefore of the utmost importance.
Remember to keep the piglets dry and in a draught-free pen or box where the temperature is high and does not change much
● The farrowing pen must be designed in such a way that the sow cannot lie on top of the piglets. Newborn piglets are very sensitive to cold, draughts, wet bedding and floors as well as sudden changes in temperature. Ensure therefore that everything possible is done to prevent piglets from being exposed to these conditions.
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● A farrowing crate for the sows and a creep area for the piglets should be provided to prevent or reduce deaths as a result of piglets being trampled by the sow or as a result of cold, draughts, etc.
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● Make sure that all piglets suckle a teat as soon as possible after birth to take in colostrum. The first milk produced by the sow immediately after the piglets are born is known as colostrum. It plays an important role in the protection of the piglets against diseases during the first few weeks of their lives.
● If a sow has more piglets than the number of teats she has, the extra piglets can be placed with another sow with a smaller number of piglets. This can only be done if the piglets of the sows are born within a few days of each other.
● Sometimes a sow does not accept her own piglets, usually as a result of birth shock (often seen in sows having their first litter of piglets). If this happens the piglets can be taken away from the sow for a few hours. If she still refuses to accept them they should be placed with another sow if possible. Sows that do not accept their piglets or bite them, must rather be slaughtered.
● If another sow is not available to rear the rejected piglets, they can be reared artificially. It does, however, take time and hard work, because the piglets do not always grow and perform well. The following milk combinations can be used to rear piglets artificially:
– 2,5 l of fresh cow’s milk – 150 ml of fresh cream – 125 ml of glucose – 1 beaten egg
– 4,5 l of fresh cow’s milk – 0,5 l of cream
● Feed the piglets small quantities every 2 to 3 hours. Start by giving 50 ml each time they are fed, so that each piglet takes in 350 ml per day. Gradually increase the quantity to about 100 ml so that each piglet gets 750 ml at three weeks of age. Provide creep meal in a shallow dish or on the floor from two weeks onwards to encourage the piglets to eat meal as soon as possible. Fresh, clean water must always be available in a shallow dish. The piglets should drink water as soon as possible.