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CARE AND MANAGEMENT OF PIGLETS
Preparation measures
About a week before the expected delivery date the
sow should be put in a pen of her own, which should
be disinfected 2 days before farrowing
On the day of farrowing the sow should not be given
her normal food but only laxative food (green fodder,
for example) to ward off constipation
Birth
The birth of the first piglet is preceded by a
bloodstained fluid oozing from her vagina
During the birth the piglets are still enclosed in a
membrane which will usually break open as they are
born.
Many piglets are born still attached to the umbilical
cord. This can be left, as it usually soon breaks off on
its own.
Ensure that the breathing passage of all baby pigs
clears. Clean all mucous and make their body dry
Navel Disinfection
A few minutes after the birth the umbilical cord
may be pulled gently away or cut if necessary (to
about 2.5 - 5 cm length)
After the birth the navel of each piglet should be
soaked in a cup of iodine solution to prevent
inflammation and tetanus.
A common malady naval ill which causes
lameness and death may result from failure to
disinfect the cord at birth
Temperature maintenance in Creep area
Transfer the piglets to creep area in which the
temperature is atleast 25ºC to 30ºC
Provide micro environment of light and keep
piglets comfortable.
Normally they have subnormal temperatures
during the first 30 minutes and it returns to
normal during next 48 hours.
The lower critical temperature is 34ºC for
piglets
The new born piglets room temperature should
be 32 – 35ºC under infra red lamp.
IR bulbs should be placed 45 cm above the pigs.
After 4 or 5 days the temperature is lowered to
26 – 29ºC by raising the height of the lamp.
Litter materials provide a temperature of 8ºC
more to the piglets, which is a cost effective
measure.
Colostrum feeding
The baby pigs are on their foot within minutes after
birth. Each piglet should be rubbed carefully dry
with a cloth and put onto the udder. Their groping
and sucking will encourage the sow to farrow and to
let down her milk.
On an average they will have nursed successfully
within 45 minutes following delivery
Colostrum excretion starts shortly before
parturition and ends about 24 - 48 hours after
farrowing.
Colostrum intake is essential for:
Energy needs: glycogen stores in a newborn
piglet are very rare, therefore the colostrum is
needed to maintain their body temperature and
metabolism.
Acquire passive immunity: the epitheliochorial
placenta of swine prevents placental transfer of
antibodies. Thus the piglet, in the first weeks of
life, is totally dependent on the specific and
nonspecific immunity that it receives through
the colostrum.
The first 6 hours are critical, and after 24 hours
the gut closes not allowing the immunoglobulins
to be absorbed. Only 12 hours after birth it can
only absorb 25% of the antibodies.
A piglet needs to consume 200 to 400 grams of
colostrum (250 g minimum) is recommended.
Sows on average produce about 3 to 4 l of
colostrum and the IgG concentration decreases
rapidly after birth.
Split nursing, or separate colostrum intake
Separate the larger piglets in the litter for 1.5
hours in another pen in order to allow smaller
piglets to have access to colostrum without
competition from their larger brothers.
Assisted and Direct colostrum intake
The idea is to assist the pig in reaching the teat
and directly provide colostrum to the piglets
Colostrum should be fed directly with a syringe
without needle or teat into the mouth of the
piglet. Two to three doses of 15-20 ml during the
first hours after delivery are highly desirable.
Clip needle teeth / wolf teeth
A newborn pig has eight needle teeth. Done with
disinfected clippers
Pigs less than 2 days old, clip needle teeth at the
gum line
Pigs over 2 days old, clip 1/3 to ½ of the tooth
Avoid injuring the gum
It is important to avoid loosening of the tooth
Iron supplements
Newborn pigs have a low reserve of iron. Iron is
essential for red blood cell production.
Supplemental iron is given by injection, orally, or as
an udder spray and must be given within 3 to 4 days
after birth to be most effective.
Milk in iron is practiclly nil. Piglets need 7mg during
the first week.
Wood ash can also be put into the pen. This will not
provide iron, but it does contain other important
minerals.
Piglet anaemia
Nutritional anaemia in suckling pigs. It’s a
highly fatal disease of suckling pigs caused by
marked decrease in Hb and fatty degeneration of
liver.
Causes: lack of Copper salts and Iron in sows
kept in indoor, or on concrete floor and limited
milk diet from sow.
Age affected: 3-6 weeks.
Prevention and Treatment
1) Add small amount of Fe and Cu in pigs diet at the
rate of 25mg of Fe , 5mg of Cu/day/pig.
2) FeSO4 - 3.6 ounces (1 ounce - 30 ml) & Water - 5
quarts (1 quart - 40 ml).Feed 1 gm daily.
3) Paint the udder of the sow daily with following
mixtures.
FeSO4 - 500gm
CuSO4 - 70gm
Sugar - 500gm
Water - 10 litres.
4) Allow piglets to free access runs with fresh soil.
5) Iron injection of Dextran (Deep I/M) – 4th & 14th
day
Castration
Castration and weaning should not be performed at
the same time. Castration is best completed before
the pig is a week old. The incision should not be
sutured.
Average age to castrate piglets – 2-3 weeks
This allows the piglets to recover from the growth
lag before it receives weaning growth checks.
Identification
Pigs require permanent identification for
management records.
Several methods may be used such as ear
notching, ear tattoos, electronic transponders, or
ear tags. Ear notching should be performed
within the first week of age.
Other forms of identification, such as ear tags,
may be torn from the ear during playing and
fighting, or be caught on feeders or fences.
Piglets should be identified immediately after
birth by painting with silver nitrate solution and
later by ear notching.
Ear notching is simple and effective method of
identifying individual pigs and litters
Commercially available Ear notcher or a sharp
scissors
Polyurethane ear tags are also used now a days
for identifying pigs
Tail Docking
As pigs come in close contact with each other
they may at times attempt to bite or chew on
their penmates - a natural behavioral action.
An undocked tail is a common target. Once
blood has been drawn on a tail, further biting
may result, sometimes leading to cannabalism
of the victim pig.
To prevent tail biting, tails are docked (a
portion of the tail is removed) shortly after
birth. Some producers leave one inch of the tail
after docking but removing the last one-third to
one-half of the tail is satisfactory.
Tail docking should be done within the first 24
hours after birth for because the pig is small,
easier to hold, and the action less stressful;
littermates are less likely to bite at the wound
on the docked tail at this age; and the piglet is
protected by antibodies from the sow's milk.
Creep Feeding
Baby pigs will nibble on creep feed within a week
of birth if it is available.
Start feeding piglet with creep feed at 2-3 weeks of
age for proper growth and development and to
encourage dry feed consumption
Area for creep feed should be partitioned so that
all piglets have access to feed. Ensure baby pigs
have plenty of clean, fresh water Baby pigs eat
creep feed better if it is sweetened
Common diseases of nursing pigs
Colibacillosis, a type of scours caused by E. coli
bacteria
transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE), a viral
infection that causes severe scours and vomiting
Rotaviral diarrhea, a viral infection that causes
diarrhea
Coccidiosis, a type of scours caused by coccidia
bacteria
Salmonella choleraesuis , a bacterial disease that
causes acute septicemia.
Including antibiotics in the creep feed helps
prevent many infections.
Weaning
Weaning Historically, pigs have been weaned at
approximately eight weeks of age. However,
improved management, proper nutrition, and
controlled environments may allow commercial
producers to wean earlier.
When a warm, dry, and draft-free environment is
provided along with proper nutrition, early
weaning may be very successful and not
detrimental to the growth, health, and well-being
of the pigs.
Earlier weaning may also reduce the stress placed
on sows and gilts as older and heavier pigs
continue to nurse.
Weaning may take place at two to eight weeks of
age, with three to five weeks being common. Early
weaning at 4 weeks or split weaning before 4
weeks can be adopted
Weaning is easier when the sow is removed and
the pigs remain in a familiar area for several days.
Cross fostering
Sow dies after farrowing or there is lactation
failure due to udder trouble or the litter is larger
than what a sow is able to rise, the result is
orphan pig. Two ways of raising
1. Adoption of a foster sow (within 3 days)
2. The use of either cow milk or sow milk replacer
Cross fostering is very important practice
for equalization of litter size
300 – 500 ml milk per day, 5 – 6 times a day for
first few weeks thereafter 2 – 3 times
Standard vitamin preparation 2 – 3 times
Milk replacer should consist of one egg yolk with
one litre of cow milk
One eighth of teaspoonful of ferrous sulphate to
one litre of milk

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Piglet management

  • 1. CARE AND MANAGEMENT OF PIGLETS Preparation measures About a week before the expected delivery date the sow should be put in a pen of her own, which should be disinfected 2 days before farrowing On the day of farrowing the sow should not be given her normal food but only laxative food (green fodder, for example) to ward off constipation
  • 2. Birth The birth of the first piglet is preceded by a bloodstained fluid oozing from her vagina During the birth the piglets are still enclosed in a membrane which will usually break open as they are born. Many piglets are born still attached to the umbilical cord. This can be left, as it usually soon breaks off on its own. Ensure that the breathing passage of all baby pigs clears. Clean all mucous and make their body dry
  • 3. Navel Disinfection A few minutes after the birth the umbilical cord may be pulled gently away or cut if necessary (to about 2.5 - 5 cm length) After the birth the navel of each piglet should be soaked in a cup of iodine solution to prevent inflammation and tetanus. A common malady naval ill which causes lameness and death may result from failure to disinfect the cord at birth
  • 4. Temperature maintenance in Creep area Transfer the piglets to creep area in which the temperature is atleast 25ºC to 30ºC Provide micro environment of light and keep piglets comfortable. Normally they have subnormal temperatures during the first 30 minutes and it returns to normal during next 48 hours. The lower critical temperature is 34ºC for piglets
  • 5. The new born piglets room temperature should be 32 – 35ºC under infra red lamp. IR bulbs should be placed 45 cm above the pigs. After 4 or 5 days the temperature is lowered to 26 – 29ºC by raising the height of the lamp. Litter materials provide a temperature of 8ºC more to the piglets, which is a cost effective measure.
  • 6. Colostrum feeding The baby pigs are on their foot within minutes after birth. Each piglet should be rubbed carefully dry with a cloth and put onto the udder. Their groping and sucking will encourage the sow to farrow and to let down her milk. On an average they will have nursed successfully within 45 minutes following delivery Colostrum excretion starts shortly before parturition and ends about 24 - 48 hours after farrowing.
  • 7. Colostrum intake is essential for: Energy needs: glycogen stores in a newborn piglet are very rare, therefore the colostrum is needed to maintain their body temperature and metabolism. Acquire passive immunity: the epitheliochorial placenta of swine prevents placental transfer of antibodies. Thus the piglet, in the first weeks of life, is totally dependent on the specific and nonspecific immunity that it receives through the colostrum.
  • 8. The first 6 hours are critical, and after 24 hours the gut closes not allowing the immunoglobulins to be absorbed. Only 12 hours after birth it can only absorb 25% of the antibodies. A piglet needs to consume 200 to 400 grams of colostrum (250 g minimum) is recommended. Sows on average produce about 3 to 4 l of colostrum and the IgG concentration decreases rapidly after birth.
  • 9. Split nursing, or separate colostrum intake Separate the larger piglets in the litter for 1.5 hours in another pen in order to allow smaller piglets to have access to colostrum without competition from their larger brothers.
  • 10. Assisted and Direct colostrum intake The idea is to assist the pig in reaching the teat and directly provide colostrum to the piglets Colostrum should be fed directly with a syringe without needle or teat into the mouth of the piglet. Two to three doses of 15-20 ml during the first hours after delivery are highly desirable.
  • 11. Clip needle teeth / wolf teeth A newborn pig has eight needle teeth. Done with disinfected clippers Pigs less than 2 days old, clip needle teeth at the gum line Pigs over 2 days old, clip 1/3 to ½ of the tooth Avoid injuring the gum It is important to avoid loosening of the tooth
  • 12. Iron supplements Newborn pigs have a low reserve of iron. Iron is essential for red blood cell production. Supplemental iron is given by injection, orally, or as an udder spray and must be given within 3 to 4 days after birth to be most effective. Milk in iron is practiclly nil. Piglets need 7mg during the first week. Wood ash can also be put into the pen. This will not provide iron, but it does contain other important minerals.
  • 13. Piglet anaemia Nutritional anaemia in suckling pigs. It’s a highly fatal disease of suckling pigs caused by marked decrease in Hb and fatty degeneration of liver. Causes: lack of Copper salts and Iron in sows kept in indoor, or on concrete floor and limited milk diet from sow. Age affected: 3-6 weeks.
  • 14. Prevention and Treatment 1) Add small amount of Fe and Cu in pigs diet at the rate of 25mg of Fe , 5mg of Cu/day/pig. 2) FeSO4 - 3.6 ounces (1 ounce - 30 ml) & Water - 5 quarts (1 quart - 40 ml).Feed 1 gm daily. 3) Paint the udder of the sow daily with following mixtures. FeSO4 - 500gm CuSO4 - 70gm Sugar - 500gm Water - 10 litres. 4) Allow piglets to free access runs with fresh soil. 5) Iron injection of Dextran (Deep I/M) – 4th & 14th day
  • 15. Castration Castration and weaning should not be performed at the same time. Castration is best completed before the pig is a week old. The incision should not be sutured. Average age to castrate piglets – 2-3 weeks This allows the piglets to recover from the growth lag before it receives weaning growth checks.
  • 16. Identification Pigs require permanent identification for management records. Several methods may be used such as ear notching, ear tattoos, electronic transponders, or ear tags. Ear notching should be performed within the first week of age. Other forms of identification, such as ear tags, may be torn from the ear during playing and fighting, or be caught on feeders or fences.
  • 17. Piglets should be identified immediately after birth by painting with silver nitrate solution and later by ear notching. Ear notching is simple and effective method of identifying individual pigs and litters Commercially available Ear notcher or a sharp scissors Polyurethane ear tags are also used now a days for identifying pigs
  • 18. Tail Docking As pigs come in close contact with each other they may at times attempt to bite or chew on their penmates - a natural behavioral action. An undocked tail is a common target. Once blood has been drawn on a tail, further biting may result, sometimes leading to cannabalism of the victim pig.
  • 19. To prevent tail biting, tails are docked (a portion of the tail is removed) shortly after birth. Some producers leave one inch of the tail after docking but removing the last one-third to one-half of the tail is satisfactory. Tail docking should be done within the first 24 hours after birth for because the pig is small, easier to hold, and the action less stressful; littermates are less likely to bite at the wound on the docked tail at this age; and the piglet is protected by antibodies from the sow's milk.
  • 20. Creep Feeding Baby pigs will nibble on creep feed within a week of birth if it is available. Start feeding piglet with creep feed at 2-3 weeks of age for proper growth and development and to encourage dry feed consumption Area for creep feed should be partitioned so that all piglets have access to feed. Ensure baby pigs have plenty of clean, fresh water Baby pigs eat creep feed better if it is sweetened
  • 21. Common diseases of nursing pigs Colibacillosis, a type of scours caused by E. coli bacteria transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE), a viral infection that causes severe scours and vomiting Rotaviral diarrhea, a viral infection that causes diarrhea Coccidiosis, a type of scours caused by coccidia bacteria Salmonella choleraesuis , a bacterial disease that causes acute septicemia. Including antibiotics in the creep feed helps prevent many infections.
  • 22. Weaning Weaning Historically, pigs have been weaned at approximately eight weeks of age. However, improved management, proper nutrition, and controlled environments may allow commercial producers to wean earlier. When a warm, dry, and draft-free environment is provided along with proper nutrition, early weaning may be very successful and not detrimental to the growth, health, and well-being of the pigs.
  • 23. Earlier weaning may also reduce the stress placed on sows and gilts as older and heavier pigs continue to nurse. Weaning may take place at two to eight weeks of age, with three to five weeks being common. Early weaning at 4 weeks or split weaning before 4 weeks can be adopted Weaning is easier when the sow is removed and the pigs remain in a familiar area for several days.
  • 24. Cross fostering Sow dies after farrowing or there is lactation failure due to udder trouble or the litter is larger than what a sow is able to rise, the result is orphan pig. Two ways of raising 1. Adoption of a foster sow (within 3 days) 2. The use of either cow milk or sow milk replacer Cross fostering is very important practice for equalization of litter size
  • 25. 300 – 500 ml milk per day, 5 – 6 times a day for first few weeks thereafter 2 – 3 times Standard vitamin preparation 2 – 3 times Milk replacer should consist of one egg yolk with one litre of cow milk One eighth of teaspoonful of ferrous sulphate to one litre of milk