Newly Born Piglets – Can They Go Outside?

I’ve received an email from Graham asking about putting his newly born piglets outside.

“Just had a litter of pigs born will they go outside if it is muddy or shall I bring them in?”

Here is my response to the question and also a response from another reader.

Hi Graham,
Congratulations on the birth of your piglets. Where did the sow farrow, outdoors or inside? If it was outside then I would make sure that the shelter has plenty of fresh clean straw and bales around it for insulation and to keep the piglets protected from wind, rain and direct sunlight when it is hot, so that the piglets are kept warm, dry and don’t get sunstroke.
If they were born inside then they usually have a heat lamp for the first few days/week.
If the piglets are reared outside then they will get iron from the soil and grass they root about in but if indoors give them a piece of turf to root about on and access to water at all times for both indoor and outdoor piglets.
Hope the piglets are doing well – what sort of pigs are they?
Kind regards
Sara @ farmingfriends

Hi all

I have had two sows pig outside and in very wet conditions. The first Sow had 13 piglets 1 month ago and 10 survive. The three that died did so within 24 hours of birth and it probably had a lot to do with the bad weather at the time.

The second sow had 10 piglets and again 3 died in similar circumstances to the above. These are now 1 week old.

All are now well and and they are thriving.

I would think that if Grahams’ piglets have somewhere dry to lie and sleep, and they are feeding well enough from the mother then all will probably be ok. If they have survived thus far then there is probably little to be gained by bringing them in at this stage

Regards

Michael

Things to consider when putting piglets outside:

  • Shelter – make sure it has plenty of fresh clean straw and bales around it for insulation.
  • Shelter has plenty of room for sow to feed the piglets easily without laying on any of the piglet.
  • Weather – keep the piglets protected from wind, rain and direct sunlight when it is hot, so that the piglets are kept warm, dry and don’t get sunstroke.
  • Make sure they have a source of iron – if outside they should get iron from the soil and grass they root about in.
  • Access to water at all times.

If anyone has any experiences of rearing piglets outdoors from birth then we would love to hear your experiences.
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What Age To Breed Gilts With A Boar

Commercially gilts are usually selected for breeding at five to six months of age. The selected gilts are reared to weigh between 120 and 130 kg at seven and a half to eight months of age when they are ready to be served by a boar for the first time.
Gilts have to be in a good condition to produce large litters (eight to 10 or more healthy piglets) and should not be too fat when they are ready for mating. Therefore, they should be fed about 2 kg of meal per day from the time of selection until a boar serves them at the age of eight months. This will also ensure that not too much fat is lost during the suckling period and that they are in a good condition after weaning their first litter.

You may want to leave your gilts till they are older depending on the size of the boar that you have or are hiring.

My gilts were about 8 months old when they were served by the boar for the first time.