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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Tips For Feeding A Slow Growing Runt

I was recently asked for some tips and advice about feeding a slow growing piglet.

“Dear Sara, I have a runt of a litter and he is growing very slow.  Do you have any advice? Jeff”

Tips and advice for feeding slow growing runts of litter.

  • A good tip is when the piglets are weaned (about 8 weeks old) 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.
  • When piglets are very young they feed from the sow little and often so depending on the age of the piglet I think I would make up small amounts of milk and feed little and often.
  • Dependent on age bottle feeding can take place every 2- 4 hours.
  • Piglets can be fed sow milk powder, sow’s milk or baby milk.
  • Make sure the milk is at blood temperature.
  • 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 on you.
  • 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.

If you have any advice for Jeff about feeding a slow growing piglet then please leave a comment.

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.

Enter your email address:

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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.


Feeding Cider Pulp To Pigs

I was asked recently if you could feed cider pulp to pigs,

Hi Sara
I have some experience of keeping pigs and the various feed options etc. However today I have been offered some residue from cider making. I have no idea whether this would be good for my pigs or not – they love apples and I give them apples whenever I have some spare (which is quite often at this time of the year). But the residue is quite a large quantity and I am worried it might be harmful in some way. Do you know about this? Many thanks. Anne

Hi Anne,
Thanks for visiting farmingfriends and leaving a comment.
I, like you, have no experience of feeding cider pulp to pigs. I do, like you, feed my pigs apples but am careful not to give them too many as it can affect them and I also make sure that I don’t give them any that are strating to go rotten as these can affect their tummies and make them sick.
I have googled feeding cider pulp to pigs and found out that the residue which is dry and is called pummies or pomace can be fed to pigs and cattle.
In the Keeping Pigs book by Tony York, it recommends “If you are feeding your pigs fresh fruit and vegetables they will be of greater benefit fed in between normal meals.” 

I assume however that the pulp will not be seen as fresh fruit but you may want to feed in between meals but just make allowances for the amount of pulp fed to your pigs. The Torre Cider farm give their pigs and piglets apple pulp so you may  want to contact them and ask for advice. Here are their details:

“Cider Making

Torre Cider Farm,

Washford

TA23 0LA

 (01984) 640004 

Open daily 9am – 5.30pm

www.torrecider.com

torrefarm@yahoo.com
Come along to this working cider farm and experience the cider making process. You will be able to see cider apples being delivered, crushed and having the juice extracted. Get involved and taste the juice or cider. Children can take a handful of the waste apple pulp to feed our Gloucester Old Spots pig and her gorgeous piglets.”
I hope this information helps and let me know how you get on.
Just to let you know that I recently set up a forum which is free to join and has a pig section that you may find interesting. 
http://farmingfriends.com/forums/forum.php?id=3
Kind regards
Sara @ farmingfriends

 

Anne contacted Torre Cider Farm and they told her about the Cider Pulp,

Hi again Sara
I got through to Torre Cider Farm and discovered that the pulp doesn’t keep more than a few days and you cannot feed too much  to the pigs anyway because they get drunk!  So I have decided  against accepting the pulp I was offered.  It is evidently very  difficult to get rid of the waste pulp and I don’t want to land myself with a problem – I have enough of those!!  I am trying to  source a nearby Gloucester Old Spot
Boar to cover two of my sows –  any ideas how I can track one down that is not too far away from  Hemyock?  (Where are you farming?) 
Many thanks again for all your help.  I love the idea of ‘farming  friends’ It is just
what we all need – us small-holders!
Kind regards
Anne

Cider Pulp can be fed to pigs but only in small quantities as the apple can affect the pigs. The cider pulp doesn’t keep very long so it is important to make sure that you don’t feed the pigs cider pulp that has gone off as this will make the pigs ill.