Weaning piglets is when the piglets are taken away from the sow.
- Piglets are usually weaned at 8 weeks of age, although it is usually earlier for commercial pigs.
- Weaning can be stressful for the sow and the piglets.
- It is generally better to remove the sows and not the piglets in order to reduce the stress on the piglets.
- If the piglets are to be moved, try to move them beyond the sight, smell or earshot of the sow to help reduce the stress of weaning.
- Make sure that the piglets are able to use the feeders and drinkers or are familiar with the feeders and drinkers so that the weaners do not go hungry or dehydrate.
- From as early as a week to 3 weeks of age the piglets can be given creep feed so that they become less dependent on the sows milk which from 3 weeks onwards will decline in production. This starts to prepare the piglets for weaning. Starter creep feed is usually milk based and then the piglets will gradually be moved onto a grower feed that has the required level of protein for the piglets. From three weeks of age the amount of feed can be increased.
- Once the piglets have been weaned it may be best to offer feed and water in shallow troughs so that the food and water keeps fresh and appealling to the weaners.
A useful book for a new pig keeper and breeder is the book Starting With Pigs by Andy Case.
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