I have received an email asking for advice about feeding up aslow growing runt.
I have a runt of a litter and he is growing very slow. I was told by another pig farmer that it will never get to market weight. Do you have any advice? Jeff"
This is what I advised,
I am sorry to hear that your runt is not growing fast. I would definately not shoot the
piglet. I have had runts of litter that have gone on to be great pigs.
A good tip is when the piglets are weaned from the sow leave the runt with the sow. One
this will help to stop the sow from getting mastitis and two the runt will grow well and
quickly on the sows milk and you can also supplement the milk from the sow with creep
feed for the runt as well.
You don't say how old the runt is. I wean mine at about 8 weeks so if your's is not near
this age then leaving the piglet with the sow upon weaning the others is a long way off.
When piglets are very young they feed from the sow little and often so depending on the
age of your piglet I think I would make up small amounts of milk and feed little and
Bottle feeding can take place every four hours. Piglets can be fed sow milk powder, sow’s
milk or baby milk.
Make sure the milk is at blood temperature and a 3 week old piglet would get about
75-100ml 3 or 4 times a day.
Try to get the piglet to drink from a bowl as soon as possible so that it is less reliant
Also consider feeding the runt separately so that the runt is not competing with other
piglets. I recently hand reared a few piglets as the sows only had 14 teats and each had
at least 16 piglets. 3 or 4 piglets from 2/3 weeks of age very quickly learnt to run out
of the barn where they were with the sow and other piglets and into another room in the
barn where they were given warm milk in a tray on the floor.
When the piglet is 7/8lbs try to move the piglet onto solid milk feed (creep feed) as
this will avoid overfeeding and the possibility of the piglet getting the scouring
illness. I would introduce the creep feed a little at a time as a sudden change in a pigs
diet can lead to scours.
Once the piglet is on dry food it will then need fresh water although I have been
recommended to have water available for hand reared piglets at all time which is advice I
have always followed.
If the piglet is still very young, I would try to make the piglet as independent as
possible so I would possibly start with the bottle feeding and then see if the piglet
will take some of the milk from a bowl. They learn quickly to do this.
When they are old enough to be on creep feed, if you are still giving them milk, I would
also have creep fed available for the runt.
I would also give the piglet a piece of turf with grass and soil and the piglet will root
through this and get iron that will help prevent scours from occurring.
Just to let you know that I have a free forum with a section on pigs that may be of
interest. http://farmingfriends.com/forums/forum.php?id=4 I will post your question here
and see if any members have any advice.
Let me know how you get on with your piglet.What breed are your pigs?
Sara @ farmingfriends"
Letme know if you have any advice for Jeff.
Sara @ farmingfriends