Pigs Can Suffer SunBurn & Heatstroke

Did you know that pigs can suffer from sunburn? Pigs cannot sweat so it’s important that they can cool down in hot weather.

A mud wallow is a good way to help prevent sunburn and heatstroke as the pigs can go and wallow in the muddy water and cool down their skin.

Make sure your pigs have good shelter from the sun so they can get out of the suns rays.

Sunburn – Light coloured pigs are particularly susceptible to sunburn. You can apply suntan lotion to help protect the skin, but not oil as the oil will help to burn the pig’s skin. The symptoms of sunburn are a reddening of the skin, blistering and a staggering movement. The pigs should be moved to a shaded area and kept cool. Apply calamine lotion to the sunburn and cold wet cloths applied behind the ears will help lower the pig’s temperature.

Heatstroke – If a pig gets too much sun then it can cause the pig to stagger about. The pig will start to shiver and stagger. They may lie down and be panting and their temperature will be raised and their skin hotter than usual. You will need to cool your pig down if they suffer heatstroke or sunburn. You can cool them dow by hosing them down or placing a wet towel onto their skin or creating a mud wallow near them so they can lie in it.

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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How To Worm A Pig

You can worm a pig by:

  • injection,
  • pouring a liquid wormer onto the back of the pig,
  • by liquid in the water or
  • a powdered wormer in the feed.


The most effective way to worm is by injection because you ensure that the pig gets the right dose for it’s weight and age.

Adding wormer to the water or feed is more difficult as you cannot be sure how much each pig has consumed.

Your vet will advise on the best course of treatment against worms for your herd of pigs or piglets.

Ivermectin wormers are a good treatment against a range of worms.

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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Splay Legs In Piglets

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.

    Splays the splayed legged runt of the litter

    Splays the splayed legged runt of the litter

    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.

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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.

    Why Piglets Born Dead

    When I had farrowing gilts on the farm I have always been lucky enough to get live piglets, however sometimes piglets can be born dead but why is that?

    “Just wondering I have a gilt that just had her first litter. The first 5 were alive but the next 5 were all dead. This is the second gilt that has had this problem. do you know what might be the reason the second have are dying. Stacey”

    I wondered if may be the gilts had an illness but as I am not a vet or had more than 2 years experience with pigs it is hard to know what it could be. I have read that brucellosis and leptospirosis can have the symptoms of still born piglets. Infections or sickness could be the cause.

    There are many other factors that could affect the health of the piglets during pregnancy.

    If the gilt or sow becomes stressed, has a fight or a knock are factors that could all lead to stillborn piglets.

    The health of the gilt or sow can also impact on the health of the piglets. An over weight pig can have difficulty farrowing. A lack of vitamins such as vitamin E and A can affect the birth of piglets.

    The pigs diet can affect the health of the piglets and if moldy feed is also given to the gilt or sow then this could make the gilt or sow ill and then affect the piglet.

    I have been doing some reading on this subject and I have read that if a piglet dies at the beginning of a pregnancy then when the piglet is born it will be hard and may be starting to deteriorate.

    If the piglet dies just prior to birth then the piglet can look normal except it’s eyes may be sunken. One way to tell if a piglet died before birth or just after farrowing is to slice a piece of the piglet’s lung and place it in some water. If the piece of lung floats, it means that the piglet had breathed before death due to the presence of air in the lungs so, it was alive when it emerged.

    If you have come across some piglets being born alive and some being born dead in the same farrowing then please let us know what the cause was in that particular case as it may help Stacey to determine why her piglets died.

    Mastitis In Sows

    Mastitis affects sows and gilts that have farrowed and are feeding piglets or have just weaned their piglets.

    Signs to look out for include:

    • Teats that are hot to the touch.
    • Teats that are hard and lumpy.
    • Sow not eating.
    • Heavy breathing.
    • Raised temperature.
    • Lethargy in sows.
    • Not standing up.

    Mastitis needs to be treated quickly, so if you suspect that your sow or gilt has mastitis then you may want to call for your vet. Mastitis can be treated with a course of antibiotics.

    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.