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Milk Row Question

(3 posts)

  1. keljoew
    Member

    Hi all,
    I am new to the site but am finding lots of useful info. :)
    I recently purchased a bred sow. She is clearly showing. When I asked the previous owner a rough estimate of farrowing, she wasn't sure. She said, "she is showing real good but her milk rows aren't in yet." I'm wondering how long I have from when "milk rows are in" to actual farrowing. I know it's not exact but it would be helpful to know one week, 3 weeks etc...thank you so much. Kelley

    Posted 6 years ago #
  2. Hi Kelley,
    the sows teats will get larger in the weeks running up to farrowing but then the milk will be release the milk on the day of farrowing.

    When farrowing is imminent there are a number of signs to look out for.

    # Restlessness. The sow or gilt will pace up and down or circle round and round.
    # Nesting. The sow or gilt will pull or the bedding material into one area and create a nest. They do this by carrying the bedding in their mouths and moving the straw with their feet. This usually occurs on the day of farrowing and it is an amazing sight to see as all the bedding that was previously covering the barn floor will now all be neatly in a nest shape – this happened when Cagney, my Saddleback sow, had her first litter. I went in to feed her and she was laid on her nest and not one piece of straw was anywhere else in the barn!
    # The size and shape of the stomach will increase before farrowing. I try to get into the habit of feeling the sow’s stomachs when I feed them so that I am aware of any changes in size and that the sows get used to me touching this area.
    # The size of the mammary glands will increase as they bag up with milk. I also try to touch the teats so that the sows get used to me doing this so that I can check for milk production before the onset of farrowing.
    # Milk production. Just before farrowing the sow or gilts milk will be released. You can check this by squeezing the teats and if milk droplets come out then farrowing is close. Make sure hands are clean otherwise you could pass on bacteria and infect the teats and this may lead to mastitis.
    # The vulva becomes larger and reddens. The muscles around this area slacken before farrowing takes place. This is not always easy to see to the untrained eye but once your gilt and sow has farrowed once or twice it is easier to identify. it’s amazing how often a pig breeder spends looking at the animals bottom!
    # Laying down and stretching out the back legs will occur as farrowing begins. This is not always the case as some gilts and sows will stand to farrow. My saddleback sow Lacy did this when she was a gilt and had her first litter.
    # Heavy breathing. As farrowing begins the gilt or sow will start to blow and puff as she strains.

    Here are some useful posts I have written on my website.

    http://farmingfriends.com/preparing-for-farrowing-pigs/
    http://farmingfriends.com/farrowing-crates-for-pigs/
    http://farmingfriends.com/signs-of-a-farrowing-sow-or-gilt/
    http://farmingfriends.com/aggression-in-farrowing-sows/

    Good luck with the farrowing. Let us know how you get on.
    kind regards
    Sara @ farmingfriends

    Posted 6 years ago #
  3. keljoew
    Member

    Thanks Sara! I have read most of your posts before I post mine. :) I think I will be able to tell when it's getting close, a couple weeks before. Problem is I'm trying to figure out if it's mid-July or early August. Trying to schedule a weekend trip to my family's. I guess I'll check her out Monday and go from there. :) Thanks so much for all the info!

    Posted 6 years ago #

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