Hog Raising Business Guide, Part 5 Piglets


Feeders and drinking troughs should be amply provided in the hog house.

Concrete feeders and troughs are the best choice but those of other materials may also be used. Halved discarded automobile tires are sometimes used for this purpose.

Farrowing stalls are installed in bigger hog farming operations to reduce piglet mortality rate. Piglet mortality rate is caused by crushing of piglets from lack of space. Heat lamps should be installed to help the survival of newborn piglets. In the absence of heat lamps, old boxes lined with sacks or thickly bedded straw, rice hull or saw dust may be used to keep the piglets warm and comfortable.

Sows for Breeding

Sow management and care should be utmost priority in breeding. The sow’s food intake should be regulated right after breeding to prevent obesity. Obesity in pregnant sows often result in fewer pigs farrowed as wells as farrowing complications.

Sows may be sprinkled with water during high temperature weather or when deemed necessary to keep the environment ideal for conception. Breeder sows must be fed with newly harvested green feeds (i.e. camote vines, kangkong, paragrass and water lily) to avoid constipation. Sows must also be provided with fresh water at all times.

Boars for Breeding

New boars should always be checked for fertility and diseases that are associated with abortion or birth of dead piglets. At the same time, a boar’s breeding load must be regulated to the ideal rate.

Boars have a different breeding load at different ages. Boars should start breeding at age eight to ten months, servicing once per week or once every five to ten days. Boars at eleven months should ideally service once per week or once every four days. At twelve months, boars may service twice per week or once every three days. Boars eighteen
months and over are very well able to service three to seven times per week or once every other day.

Piglets at Farrowing Time

Materials and equipment for care of the newborn piglets should be prepared prior to the farrowing dates.

Newborn pigs need assistance in breathing. This can be done by cleaning out the mucus membrane and other substances from the mouth and nose of the piglets when they are born. The piglet may also need to be slapped lightly for a few seconds. Swinging the piglet’s head down also helps it to breathe.

A piglet’s umbilical cord should be cut with a pair of sanitized scissors. A clean string should be tied approximately two inches from the base before cutting. The string should prevent the umbilical cord from being tugged, as this causes hernia in piglets.

The cut end of the umbilical cord should be dipped in a bottle of tincture of iodine. After the piglets’ umbilical cord is cut, newborn pigs should be placed in a piglet box with an overhead heater. A 100-watt bulb provides enough heat for the ideal temperature, which can be changed to a 50-watt bulb after two weeks of brooding.

Piglets are born with eight sharp, fully erupted teeth, also known as needle teeth. Newborn pigs fight with their littermates to establish teating order. This process often causes injuries to piglets as they deliver sideways bites with their needle teeth to their littermates while competing for access to teats. Undipped teeth also cause injuries to the
sow’s udder. Routine needle teeth clipping may be done at birth to prevent injuries from fighting. Needle teeth should be cut close to the gum level with a nail cutter or a sidecutting nipper. It is important not to leave any jagged edge or make a slanted cut. Slanted cuts and jagged edges often cause injuries to the gums and tongue of piglets and to the teats of the mother. The cutter should be disinfected before using it on another piglet.

Piglets should suck the colostrum, commonly known as the first milk, which contains anti-bodies that help the piglets fight diseases early on. Piglets should also be injected with commercial iron dextrain after birth to prevent incidents of newborn anemia as iron reserves in piglets are consumed within seven days after birth. This should be repeated after 2 weeks of first administration. Should symptoms of anemia be detected, re-administration of the supplement must be done right away.

Piglets should be weaned at age four to six weeks. Health management practices like castration, de-worming, ear notching or tattooing and the like should be done before weaning.

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