Hand Rearing Piglets

I received a comment recently asking for advice about hand rearing piglets.

THIS IS MY FIRST TIME BOTTLE FEEDING A PIGLET AND I’M VERY EXCITED TO DO IT….DOES ANYONE HAVE ANY ADVICE ON WHAT’S BEST OR WORST WHILE DOING THIS ? I’VE GOT THE MILK REPLACER AND BOTTLES AND EVERYTHING I THINK I’LL NEED TO DO IT, I JUST AM A LITTLE NERVOUS ABOUT THE POOR LITTLE THING. IT’S UP AND WALKING AROUND BUT IS SKINNY AND NOT REAL ACTIVE…GIVE ME SOME HINTS PLEASE..I JUST WANT IT TO LIVE AND BE HEALTHY…THANK YOU. KELLY.

My experience with newborn piglets is limited. When Cagney and Lacy farrowed in October, all except one piglet fed from their mother’s so as you can see my hand rearing experiences are limited.

I noticed that my piglets fed from the sow little and often so I think I would make up small amounts of milk and feed little and often.

Bottle feeding can take place every four hours, although in the first 24 hours they will do better if fed every two to three hours. Piglets can be fed sow milk powder, sow’s milk or baby milk.

Make sure the milk is at blood temperature and start with about 10-20ml and then build up to 75-100ml by which time you will only be feeding the piglet 3 or 4 times a day.

If it is possible to get some of the colostrum milk from the sow then that may be good to feed to the piglet. Your piglets chances of survival are greater if it has had some colostrum from the mother, or another sow that has recently farrowed.

Try to get the piglet to drink from a bowl as soon as is possible so that it is less reliant on you. 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. Once the piglet is on dry food it will then need fresh water.

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.

If anyone has any help and advice that they can give to Kelly about hand rearing piglets then just leave a comment.