Sow With Hot & Red Teats

I have just received an email about a sow who is due to farrow soon and her teats are hot and red.

“Hi Sara. My sow, Matilda, is due to have her first litter in the next few days. She is very content but I have noticed her back teets are very red and feel very warm, is this normal? She doesn’t seem to mind me touching them at all, I have been bathing them and she doesn’t seem to mind that either. We have had pigs for a year now and this is the firtst time we have gone through pregnancy. She has been wormed and her farrowing ark is clean. What more do I need to do?” Nelly

My response was
Hi Nelly,

I hope Matilda is ok. Watch out for mastitis which is a hardening of the teats and hot and painful teats. Mastitis can be treated with antibiotics. Here is a link http://farmingfriends.com/mastitis-in-sows/

http://farmingfriends.com/tip-for-helping-to-prevent-mastitis-in-sow-when-weaning-piglets/

Here is a link about signs of a farrowing sow
http://farmingfriends.com/signs-of-a-farrowing-sow-or-gilt/

http://farmingfriends.com/what-to-do-with-a-pregnant-sow-or-gilt-that-is-close-to-farrowing/

Hope these links are useful.

Good luck with the farrowing.

Let us know how she gets on. Just to let you know I have a free forum where there are lots of friendly members http://farmingfriends.com/forums/

Kind regards
Sara

A useful book for a new pig keeper and breeder is the book Starting With Pigs by Andy Case or the The Virgin Pig Keeper by David Brown.

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Should You Be Present When A Gilt Or Sow Is Farrowing?

I am sometimes asked if you should be present when a gilt or sow is farrowing. Some people believe that you should just let the gilt or sow get on with the farrowing. However if your sow/gilt knows you well then she may not mind you being present. It is useful to be on hand in case the gilt or sow needs assistance or in case the sow becomes aggressive towards the piglets.

If you are present at farrowing time then it is important that you have a pig board and easy access to the door so that you can get away from the sow if she becomes aggressive or is disturbed by your presence. If the gilt or sow is distressed by your presence then you will need to withdraw from the farrowing pen and leave the sow/gilt to farrowing on her own but I would stay close by so you can still monitor if all is going well or if she needs assistance.

My sows farrowed in a barn and usually started farrowing late afternoon and into the evening. I always sat behind the sow so I had easy access to the piglets and was in a position to help the sow if she needed assistance with farrowing the piglets. I would sit with the lights out and the light from the heat lamp would be enough for me to see what was happening.

I also needed to be close by as one of my sows could get aggressive at farrowing time and she has tried to bite and kill the piglets during farrowing.

Being present or close by so you can observe the farrowing process gives you an insight into their farrowing habits and behaviour which is useful information when the sow or gilt farrows again.

A useful book for a new pig keeper and breeder is the book Starting With Pigs by Andy Case.

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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.

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Farrowing Sow’s Breathing

When a sow or gilt is about to farrow (have her piglets) she usually lays down and you can tell when the first piglet is about to be born as the sow or gilts breathing becomes rapid.

Here is a video clip of my pedigree saddleback sow, called Lacy, only minutes away from farrowing. A few minutes after I took this video clip, Lacy started to farrow and her first piglet of 18 was born.

Those of you who are new to keeping and breeding pigs will hopefully find this video clip a useful reference when your sow or gilt is close to farrowing as this will give you an indication of the breathing pattern of a sow or gilt about to farrow.

A useful book for a new pig keeper and breeder is the book Starting With Pigs by Andy Case.

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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.

What To Feed A Pregnant Gilt Or Pregnant Sow

Pregnant sows or gilts can be fed sow breeder pellets, milled barley and vegetables. It is important to increase the amount of feed given to the gilt or sow a few days before she farrows.

Dear Sara
I have a pregnant sow That is due to have little ones this month she just wants to eat corn. I know she needs more of a diet then this what would you recommend for better source of vitamins and minerals? This is my first time with a pregnant sow.
Jeff

Hi Jeff,
Welcome to farmingfriends and thanks for your question. Give her sow breeder nuts as well and make sure she has plenty of water they need more water when eating dry food.
Also lots of greens is a good idea. Particularly cabbage and broccoli as they helps with milk production. Increase her feed by 2-3lbs a day a few days before farrowing. What breed is your sow? Good luck with the farrowing. it is a joy to watch and the piglets are amazing as soon as they are born they are trying to suckle.
Let me know how she gets on.
Kind regards
Sara @ farmingfriends

What do you feed your pregnamt sows or gilts?

Click on the book image below to visit Amazon.co.uk to find out more about this book or visit one of the Farming Friends Bookshops.


Saddleback Sow Has 15 Piglets

Lacy, my saddleback sow has had 15 live piglets this afternoon and evening.

This morning she started to carry straw about and then this afternoon when I went to check on her, she was breathing heavily and when I checked her teats she had milk.

Her first piglet was born just before 4pm and she had her last piglet by 7pm. Not bad going. The only problem is that Lacy gets aggressive when she is farrowing and when she had her last litter she snaffled one of the piglets during farrowing and it only lived for about a week whilst I hand fed it. Whilst Lacy is farrowing I have to put the piglets in a box under the lamp. The only problem is deciding when the piglets can be let loose in the farrowing barn with her as she is sometimes aggressive after farrowing. At the moment the piglets are still in the box as I have attempted to put them in with her once but she seemed to want to snaffle them. I am hoping that she will let them join her soon as they need to get the milk from her and the colostrum from her milk as soon as possible. I’ll let you know in the morning how we get on.

Pregnant Sow

Cliare has a pregnant sow but is unsure when her pig will farrow.

hi sara
 claire here again well its been a while but still no piglets yet.
for the first time one of my pigs started to lose thick creamy discharge today and all day  could u tell me what this means as her teats have not fully dropped yet is this a sign of being due
please help asap as im worryed what this is coming from her
thanks from claire

Hi Claire,
Usually nest building occurs when farrowing is imminent and your gilt may lay down. I have read that a slight discharge in the form of blood and mucus can be discharged an hour or two before the birth so this discharge you mention could be normal, but if you are concerned then I would contact someone you know who knows about breeding/farrowing pigs or if you are very concerned then I would consider contacting a vet although this will be costly if they are called out. You could phone your local vet and describe the symptoms and get a phone consultation. Does the discharge smell? If so I have read that this could be a sign for concern.I have checked all the books I have on keeping pigs and looked at the illness section in all. None of the illnesses mention a thick creamy discharge so it maybe the start of farrowing but if in doubt then I would consult someone.
Hope this information helps. I will keep my fingers crossed for your pig and hope that you get some piglets very soon. Keep me posted.
Kind regards
Sara @ farmingfriends
hi sara
 well no piglets yet but thanks for getting back to me on my questions
well 3rd august and  my girl is swelling around her lady bits and still is swelling today 4th  but she is still eating and no nest building
so how long do u think she’s got with this swelling showing
thanks for any more info
from claire  

If you have any information about pregnant sows then please leave a comment, thanks.

Sow Swelling

Claire emailed me about her pregnant sow who is swelling up. 

hi sara
 well no piglets yet but thanks for getting back to me on my questions. Well 3rd august and my girl is swelling around her lady bits and still is swelling today 4th  but she is still eating and no nest building. So how long do u think she’s got with this swelling showing?
thanks for any more info
from claire

Hi Claire,

I am on tender hooks waiting for news of your pig and her piglets. What is your pig called?
When you say her lady bits are swelling do you mean the teats or around the vulva area.
When the sow is close to farrowing the teats do swell up or bag up as they fill with milk. The milk is released usually on the day or a day or two before farrowing.
The vulva area tends to go loose and saggy before farrowing so watch out for this too. There is alot of bottom watching at this time!!!

I await news of your pig and keep my fingers crossed all is well.
Kind regards
Sara @ farmingfriends

If you have any advice for Claire about her pregnant sow then please leave a comment, thanks.

Sow Farrowed And Piglets Born

Cagney the Saddleback sow has had her second litter and this morning when I went out to the farrowing pen at 6.30am there were 10 piglets. Nine of the piglets were feeding but one of the piglets was lying near Cagney’s face. He was still alive but panting. When I managed to pick him up, the piglet was cold. I placed him under the lamp and went to make up some milk and get my husband Steve. We tried to get the piglet to suckle from the sow but he wasn’t strong enough, so we decided to bring the piglet into the house. We gave him some powdered milk and then placed him in a tray with a towel in the warming oven of the aga.

I am thrilled to say that after an hour the piglet was able to sit up and when I tried to feed him again he was wriggling about so much that I decided to take him back outside to the others. This was exactly the right thing to do as he was moving about with the others as soon as I returned him and it quickly became difficult to see which one he was.

I am keeping my eye on the piglets to make sure that they all suckle from Cagney, so I’ll let you know how they get on. I have taken some photos and will post them up later.