Splay legs in piglets is when the newborn piglet is unable to hold the front and or back legs together. The piglet is unable to stand up properly and the front and or hind legs will be spread out. The piglet also finds it difficult to walk and it is therefore difficult for the piglet to access the teat and get the colostrum and milk from the sow.
A piglet with splay legs will need to be hand reared as they can die if left to their own devices. If they are not given milk they find it difficult to get to the teat when the sow calls the piglets and then the piglet can starve to death or the piglet may be crushed if it cannot move away from the sow when she lays down.
Splay legs can be caused by:
- Immaturity of the muscle fibres in the hind legs, over the pelvis and occasionally in the front legs.
- Piglets standing on very smooth or wet slippery floors.
- An aggressive farrowing sow snaffling the piglet and damaging the legs.
I had a piglet with splay legs who I named Splays.
He was hand reared and is a success story as he grew and left the farm at 8 weeks old to keep another runt of a litter company on another farm. You can read all about splays the Click here to read all about Splays the splay legged piglet.
A useful book for a new pig keeper and breeder is the book Starting With Pigs by Andy Case.
If you keep pigs or are thinking of keeping pigs then join the free farmingfriends pig forum for the latest chat, advice and questions about pigs and pig related issues.