Caring for piglets is no small task. Any pig farmer will tell you that from the moment the sow starts to farrow, the farmer has his hands completely full. Caring for piglets takes a high degree of care and knowledge.
The farmer needs to understand that piglets are very delicate, requiring care and maintenance from the moment they are born. Since the growth and profitability of a pig farm will largely depend upon the good health, accelerated growth, and general productivity of the newborn animals, it is of utter importance that we regard the business of caring for and raising them as a priority.
With that in mind, this article will provide some additional insight into the roles and responsibilities of those raising piglets. We shall cover different aspects of piglet management, including temperature, bedding, feeding, rooting behaviour, parasite control, and anaemia prevention. Then we shall also look at the various routine practices that must be carried out on the piglets on a successful pig farm. But to kick off this discussion, let us look at activities that must happen moments after birth:
Moments after birth
Remove mucus membranes from the piglets’ body, especially on the snout, mouth and nostrils, to ensure that piglets are breathing, seeing and swallowing effectively. Cut the overhanging umbilical cord and dress it with an antiseptic solution such as iodine, alcohol or methylated spirit, to avoid naval cord infections. Remove and dispose the afterbirth membranes immediately when all piglets are born so that they do not rot in the pen posing a serious health risk to the piglets.
Make a recording of litter size and their average birth weights after weighing them. Record also how many were born alive or dead, size uniformity, genetic defects observed and their sexes. Ensure that all piglets are suckling to benefit from the colostrum.
When piglets are born, they need a warm, dry place to live. Providing heat is vital! Newborn piglets need temperatures of about 32 ºC for the first few days and sustained warm temperatures for at least a few weeks. Eliminate drafts in the pen and keep the piglets away from cold locations, as chills may cause piglets to die. After a week or two, you will notice that the piglets are much stronger.
For bedding, straw or hay works well, with wood chips underneath for absorption. Piglets enjoy chewing and rooting through the hay and burrowing down in the nests they create. Deep bedding will also help maintain warmth.
Make sure that the piglets have access to colostrum from the sow. Colostrum helps protect them against disease susceptibility and improve growth rates.
- Has a laxative or purgative effect on the piglet’s digestive system.
- Has immunoglobins that are essential for the development of the piglets’ immunity system.
- Is approximately 40% more nutritious than the ordinary milk the sow will produce later. Allow piglets to suckle from the sow as often as possible.
The sow should be given adequate amounts of sow lactation feed so that she is able to produce enough milk to sustain the number of piglets in her litter. As piglets grow older, they will be more interested in solid food. Generally, after a month or two, they are ready for weaning if you choose. Piglets will nurse until the sow doesn’t allow them anymore. If you notice a piglet has diarrhoea, it can be a sign of bad stomach bacteria, and could require attention from a vet and potentially the use of antibiotics.
Piglet stool should be yellow, orange or clear for the first few days, after the initial black stool is passed upon birth. Check the piglet’s anus on a regular basis to make sure it isn’t constipated. Tiger Animal Feeds has a robust Technical Team that works tirelessly to offer proper technical services to our farmers and ensure success in their production. The Technical Team conducts consultation, farm visits, seminars and many other interactive support free of charge for our customers.
For more information, contact Barbara Mulonda Simbaya, Technical Advisor at Tiger Animal Feeds, by sending an e-mail to email@example.com, or call (+260)969- 202-207.