Kia Ora - New piglets

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4 years 7 months ago #536636 by Shankara
Kia ora,
We are new to this forum! We have had our property on the Kapiti Coast for just over a year now and loving it.

We are first time 'grandpiglets'!! Our mama has just given birth to 10 piglets, they are 7 days old today and appear healthy and lively!
I wondered if someone were able to help me with my questions please. both mama and babies are still in the barn where they are warm and have been since birth. They have an area with bedding. The floor is dirt (except for where they sleep) where we have put down hay and untreated woodchips/sawdust. We visit every day for feeding.

- Do I need to provide water for my piglets at this stage? What about food?
- If I need to give food, what would you suggest?
- Can I let them outside for a nosey?
- When can I put them back into their future living quarters?
- Are they ready for human cuddles? Will Mama be ok with that?

Thank you everyone.

S&K

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4 years 7 months ago #536640 by tonybaker
Replied by tonybaker on topic Kia Ora - New piglets
don't worry, mummy pig has generations of experience in how to care for her offspring, they are smarter than humans! Best thing you can do is not to stress her by interfering. Make sure she has food and water.Most of the piglets will survive and be absolutely fine.

5 acres, Ferguson 35X and implements, Hanmay pto shredder, BMW Z3, Countax ride on mower, chooks, Dorper and Wiltshire sheep. Bosky wood burning central heating stove and radiators. Retro caravan. Growing our own food and preserving it. Small vineyard, crap wine. :)

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4 years 7 months ago #536642 by Shankara
Replied by Shankara on topic Kia Ora - New piglets
Thank you for your advice. Just being an overcautious new 'grandy' :)

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4 years 7 months ago #536652 by Ronney
Replied by Ronney on topic Kia Ora - New piglets
Hi and welcome to the forum:)

Your piglets are more than old enough to go outside for a look around.
Yes, keep a shallow pan of water available for them - but don't be surprised if they tip it over or lie in it!
Definitely start to offer them food and meal mixed to a slurry with water or milk (if you have access to it) is a good way to start. Go to somewhere like Farmlands and they should have pig starter meal of some type available. You will have to separate them from the sow though or she will scoff it all.
If you have a good relationship with your sow, you should be able to handle the piglets from the moment they are born - literally. If she is grumpy with you being in the pen with her young, go in, ignore all of them and sit down. Curiosity will get the better of them and they'll come up to your boots to have a sniff and a nibble, give a pull on your trousers etc. After a few minutes get up and quietly leave. Next time stay a bit longer and do some talking. Once you start feeding them, you'll have friends for life and the sow will be happy. DON'T try and pick them up. They'll squeal and the sow really will get grumpy and a very grumpy sow is not to be messed with.

Pigs are quite different to other livestock so I suggest you read as much as you can and ask as many questions as you can. They are an enjoyable animal to have around but are very complex.

Cheers,
Ronnie

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4 years 7 months ago #536660 by Shankara
Replied by Shankara on topic Kia Ora - New piglets
Thank you so much Ronnie, awesome advice!
We have actually started leaving a really shallow pan of water and yes true to your advice they walked right through it!. Their mama is also feeding them beautifully but I will introduce some pig starter meal, feeding time is quite special and I just love watching them all gosh they are clever and we have become absolutely besotted!

When do you think I can put them back into Mama's pen? It's an outdoor pen with a small hut. How important is sun for them? As we will be moving them to a small part of our farm that does not get any.
When should we do 'cutting teeth' and or immunizations?
This forum is fabulous for advice. Many Thanks.

S&K

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4 years 6 months ago #536706 by Ronney
Replied by Ronney on topic Kia Ora - New piglets
Sorry that it's taken me a few days to get back to this.

They can go back to the sow pen whenever you like but will the house be big enough for them all? If you're doubtful about that, leave them in the barn but allow access outside, if that's feasible, to allow them to toilet. This will also be better for your barn!

Sun is important to them and like us, too much is bad but so is not enough. They really need to go into an area with all day sun but plenty of shade and always a wallow. Does the part of the farm you're thinking of literally get no sun or is it limited?

Few people these days cut the canine teeth or castrate - I have done neither for close to 40 years - so personally, I wouldn't worry about it. It's work you don't need to do and puts the piglet through unnecessary stress. The most important immunisation in my book for the back yard breeder is Lepto. followed by Parvo. Your vet will help you with these.

Cheers,
Ronnie

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4 years 6 months ago #536713 by Shankara
Replied by Shankara on topic Kia Ora - New piglets
Thanks Ronnie,
We successfully moved mama 'Peaches' and babies into the outdoor pen. Mama was easily coaxed by a loaf of bread, we had prepared a nice muddy wallow for her and she went straight for it! The babies were put carried down in two batches of 5 in a crate. They have adapted well to their new surroundings and we've also started the piglets on food.

Their hut is 3 meters long by 2 meter's wide by 12 hundred high. Husband and I are thinking that it would be a good idea to make it bigger. The entire enclosure has more than ample space for their needs.

Husband tells me the new surrounds that they will eventually be moved to do get morning and afternoon sun but they will not be moved there until we have secured the 'place'

I will get onto the Vet for imms, our babies will be 15 days old tomorrow when is the right time to get this done for the babies? Mama's last imms (I believe were done when she was serviced (back in July)

As always appreciate the advice. I have attached a couple of photos
1) feeding in the barn at 11 days old
2) wallow time
I am very proud of my 'grandpiglets' I'm sure my workmates are sick and tired of me talking about them at smoko

S&K
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4 years 6 months ago #536717 by tonybaker
Replied by tonybaker on topic Kia Ora - New piglets
it sounds like they are in pig heaven! Your shelter is plenty big enough. Mine never bothered with the shelter and just huddled in a scoop in the ground. good idea is to confine them into a pen with 4 farm gates and move it around your paddock from time to time. You need some shelter in the form of sheets of iron or whatever to keep the sun off. If you let them roam, they will destroy anything they can find and ruin the ground. I hooked up a pig drinking nipple to one of the gates and had a water drum feeding it on gravity. If you put a trough in the pen they will upturn/destroy it. This makes it very easy to look after them and keeps their pen cleaner. Don't bother with a feed trough as again they will destroy it. Just throw the food in and they will be occupied in snuffling around for it. I was able to regrass a paddock nicely with this method. A family of wild cats adopted the pigs and the cats used to huddle in with the pigs and share their food! It was amazing to see the mother cat sleeping on the pig's back!

5 acres, Ferguson 35X and implements, Hanmay pto shredder, BMW Z3, Countax ride on mower, chooks, Dorper and Wiltshire sheep. Bosky wood burning central heating stove and radiators. Retro caravan. Growing our own food and preserving it. Small vineyard, crap wine. :)

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4 years 6 months ago #536816 by Shankara
Replied by Shankara on topic Kia Ora - New piglets
Hi there, appreciate the advice Tony, thank you.

It's been a while since I've been on here as you can imagine we have been busy with our new additions along with a couple of weekends of shearing.

The piglets appear to have settled in well, we have started feeding them on a slurry of 'pig tucker' Most of the piglets get into with gusto and some don't, should i be worried?
Is it normal for the piglets to try and jump into Mums food trough? and feed off her while she eats? Tonight we will be feeding Peaches and the babies seperately for the first time. Do you have any suggestions on how to do this?

Yesterday arvo we arrived at the farm to an almighty squealing, it sounding awful! Mama was feeding the litter at the time and it looked as though one? piglet was not able to get to a teat. It was hard to see because as soon as I got to the pen, Mama heard me and came happily trotting out for her dinner. This is what makes me think they may be hungry? They all have access to fresh water and the entire pen is about 20 metres by 30 metres so more then plenty of room to run around. I have noticed small redish scratches behind some of their ears, is this them just fighting with each other? Or something to worry about? I will try and get photos.

Today I have inquired with the vet about imms and costs so this is in progress.

My apologies for the novel! These beautiful creatures do worry me at times, much like my own children do lol and thanking you all in advance for your response. Attached is a photo of the piglets at aged 16 days old, their slurry is next to Mama who is eating her own food.


S&K
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4 years 6 months ago #536817 by tonybaker
Replied by tonybaker on topic Kia Ora - New piglets
Just relax! as long as they have shade, food, water and something to destroy they will do fine. There are always a couple of weaker piglets in a litter so don't breed from them. You run looks fine, plenty of space. Be aware that pigs have very strong snouts so can get under things like fences. Mine could lift a farm gate quite easily until I tied the gates down. As long as mum has food and water, all will be good.

5 acres, Ferguson 35X and implements, Hanmay pto shredder, BMW Z3, Countax ride on mower, chooks, Dorper and Wiltshire sheep. Bosky wood burning central heating stove and radiators. Retro caravan. Growing our own food and preserving it. Small vineyard, crap wine. :)

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4 years 6 months ago #536818 by LongRidge
Replied by LongRidge on topic Kia Ora - New piglets
If you are able to grab, and hold onto (which is easier said than done -:)) one of the bloody piglets, check it all over especially under the armpits for mange, lice and/or ticks.
If you are going to ring noses so they don't dig holes, they need to be done before they get too big. We borrowed the pliers from the vet and put in three small rings, because they tend to fall out.
Do not name the piglets, or you risk not being able to get them butchered. Miss Piggy had to go when she started to attack Spot the Wonderdog ("I wonder why he did that/went there/chases chickens ?"), but it was difficult to do the job :-(.

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4 years 6 months ago #536819 by Ronney
Replied by Ronney on topic Kia Ora - New piglets
Hi again, sounds as though things are humming along nicely.

No, not all piglets will tear into the food but just ensure that the slower ones are getting some. And yes it's quite normal for the piglets to plough through the sow's food and try and suckle her while she's eating. No table manners whatsoever!

The squealing you heard was possibly a lot of noise about nothing and yes, not being able to get at it's teat would have sent it into a tantrum. And yes, the red scratches you have observed will be from them playing and also jostling for position at the udder. Keep an eye on them but they rarely, if ever, infect.

Your piglets are now three weeks old and will be starting to pull the sow down so don't be frightened to increase her food and also theirs as piglets grow very quickly. Try adding a bit of something else to the piglets food too - fruit, cabbage leaves etc. Rolled barley boiled is an excellent source of protein and never used to be too expensive.

From now on, removing the sow for feeding and an easier path to weaning, is a good idea. I had two pens with the second pen opening into a paddock. Initially I would let the sow into the second pen with her "breakfast", feed the litter their mash and then leave the sow out on her own for a couple of hours for a break. Over the next few weeks I would extend the time the sow was out, increase the amount of food the piglets were getting and feed them 3 x times a day, until she was spending the whole day in the paddock. Then one evening she never got put back with the piglets and while some would have a grizzle, as long as they were being given adequate food they weren't worried. Bingo, painless weaning. That worked for me because I had the pens and also all my breeding stock were rung as they were paddock reared. If your sow isn't rung, letting her into a paddock might not be an option if she has a tendency to dig - and most pigs will to some degree or another.

See how you go anyway. From what I can see they look to be doing fine at this point and you want to try and keep it like that. What are your longer term plans for this litter?

Cheers,
Ronnie

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