Our sow farrowed last Friday and gave birth easily (overnight without us - doesn't nature surprise you!) to 8 lovely piglets. All are now doing well and are running about in the paddock following her. We have increased her food intake daily from her own 'allowance' of 1.5kg/3lbs (kitchen scraps, milk, and rolled barley) to include 0.5kgs/1lb extra for each piglet. In this extra we have also included soy protein flakes (I don't have such a good feeling about them) but it was to ensure that she was getting enough protein. They have a pig house out on 0.25 acre of pasture that we enriched with barley grass in the spring.
I have some questions around feeding though (and could be corrected if any of the above should be amended - I'm new to this)...
I'd heard that each piglet will find his/her nipple and stay with it for every feed. Is that so? If it is, what happens to the other 4 nipples that she has?
One of her nipples is a bit red and the area is hot today but not hard. I'm a breastfeeding counsellor (for humans :wink so I'm aware of mastitis, and I was wondering if this is a sign of it in pigs. She is still quite active, still has a great appetite, and doesn't seem out-of-sorts. Is it just normal, maybe due to an over-enthusiastic piglet?
Congrats on the natural birth. What breed do you have?
I'd say the nipple is just fine, but keep an eye on it. Piglet teeth are very sharp! I know most human mothers in NA don't breastfeed past the first teeth, but when the child does bite, it hurts and causes irritation. That's what I think is going on. The heat is natural and normal and necessary... especially if you don't use heat lamps and such.
My piglets have never stayed with one teat. They always move around even during the same feeding. Could be a breed thing or could be something else. So all the good nipples should stay full of milk. I'd be interested to hear others' opinions on this.
As for feed, if you're feeding supplementary feed, my own rule is always feed until they finished the feed you've put out within a short period of time - like right away (10 min). If they leave some feed and then return later, you've given too much.
Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Location: Currently in Seattle. Probably moving 1 hour north by end of the year.
Congratulations on the newest members to your family. Their order at the milk bar pretty much shows their pecking order. Hence the American expression "Sucking hind titty" when somebody is in a lower position on the totem pole.
Joined: Jul 22, 2009
All seems to be well and her udder hasn't gone hard and is a little less pink today - I think you're right gordwelch, it's probably just one of those lil boars! Interesting expression John.