Saddleback Piglets Born

I have received an email from my friends Gregg and Belinda who got their saddleback pigs from me over a year ago. Two of their three saddleback sows have just had piglets.

Good news. Last night/ this morning one of our sows farrowed…giving us seven healthy piglets. Maggie is due to farrow some time today…she’s got milk. The other one will farrow in a week or so. We are planning to keep at least one of  the gilts for breeding. Thanks so much for helping us in getting started.

Here is Holly and her seven piglets.

Holly the saddleback sow and her seven piglets.

Holly the saddleback sow and her seven piglets.

Gregg emailed today to say that Maggie has now farrowed.

All is going well although Maggie has been a little unwell during the farrowing but is beginning to eat and drink.

Maggie the saddleback sow and her piglets.

Maggie the saddleback sow and her piglets.

LG is the third sow and she is due to farrow in the next few weeks.

I am hoping to go and see the piglets very soon.

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.
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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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Feeding Pregnant Gilts Or Sows

Pregnant gilts or sows  can be fed:

  • sow breeder pellets/nuts or
  • milled barley / mixed with pig concentrate and
  • a selection of vegetables (particularly cabbage and broccoli as they helps with milk production.)

A sow will eat about 5 or 6lbs of feed a day which is the equivalent of up to 40 bags of pig feed.

Don’t feed your sow more than 6lbs of dry feed a day, unless they are close to farrowing or nursing piglets.

It is important to increase the amount of feed given to the gilt or sow a few days before she farrows. Increase the feed by 2-3lbs a day a few days before farrowing.

Then increase the feed by ½ -1lb per piglet born per day after farrowing.

Pigs should not be fed parsnips as they give them blisters in and around their mouths.

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.

If you would like to receive regular information about pigs then why not sign up to the farmingfriends newsletter.

Enter your email address to receive regular emails of the posts on the farmingfriends website:

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