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Joined: 26 Apr 2006
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 06 12:36 pm    Post subject: piglet rearing  Reply with quote    

Hi there for the first time - I have been meaning to join you all for many months but sheep, pigs and hens have kept me too busy - but now, after two litters of Tamworths recently born, I have a problem. One of our elder sow's litter disturbs her greatly by squealing manically as soon as mum moves - there is nothing wrong, it is not being trodden on but because of her manic squealing, the sow becomes upset/distressed and isn't functioning in her usually superb maternal fashion. This also was the worst farrowing I have experienced with three of the babes being crushed by their mum and one being still born. Two of the remaining eight do not seem to be thriving as the rest - the one I am worried about, and another who only has one ear and cannot use one of her back legs on the same side - very worrying too. Should we remove the squealer and try to rear it ourselves? If so, could you advise us as to what this entails?


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 44229
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 06 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

We have a few piggy people around here, hopefully one of them will be here shortly, welcome on board.


Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 06 1:37 pm    Post subject: Gilly Reply with quote    

Hello Sheepwoman. I am new to this forum too. We are taking on a couple of pigs this year, the first time, so we are completely novices. I cannot advise you on pig rearing, but wish you well with your problem. Bye. Gill


Joined: 26 Apr 2006
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 06 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Many thanks for your good wishes - which breed have you decided to rear? Our experiences cover Tamworths, Tamworth/Gloucester Old Spot crosses, Tamworth/Land Race crosses and Saddlebacks (just the one, called Sally who was BEAUTIFUL with long black eyelashes) and this year we had the very best farrowing experience and the very worst!


Joined: 21 Dec 2004
Posts: 24569
Location: mid-Wales
PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 06 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Sheepwoman: I suggest you geton to a real expert such as Tony York at Pig Paradise. What he doesn't know isn't worth knowing!

Find him at: tonyyork@pigparadise.com

He's very helpful. Also, our own Rob R will probably know what to do.


Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 33978
Location: Hereford
PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 06 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I'd also suggest Tony.

He runs courses, but he's happy to advise anyone, pretty much at any time, by email or phone without charge. He's even been known to post here and/or rivercottage from time to time.

Rob R

Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 31902
Location: York
PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 06 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

nickhowe wrote:
I'd also suggest Tony.

I'd second (or should that be third ) that. Don't rely too much on what I say, as I'm no expert

Sounds like a combination of trauma (of both piglet & dam) through a difficult farrowing which itself is probably down to genetics. Is she a very old sow? Such a farrowing would usually mean culling her to avoid such problems in the future as it is quite often the case that she has been damaged internally by farrowing complications and/or age is resulting in genetic mutations that make the litter less viable. The latter would explain the one eared pig, unless she was put to a closely related boar last time? The arrangement of piglets inside the uterus is like peas in a pod, so they have to come out in order & therefore is usually either 'like shelling peas' or a right pig's ear.

A little pig will bottle feed OK but will never do as well as a naturally reared animal. We use goat's milk when hand rearing piglets, but have always done this with the objective of returning them to the sow. If the squealer is not doing well it may be best to put him down, but that is obviously a last resort. First you would be best speaking to someone like Tony who may have encountered a similar problem, and also try taking the offender away & seeing the effect on the mother (and piglet).


Joined: 26 Apr 2006
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 06 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Many thanks for all your advice and recommendations. Will certainly contact Tony. Today, Saturday, all 8 piglets are still alive but the runty two are still struggling for survival and are the only two who do not venture out to play in the sunshine with their mum, but stay under the heatlamp, probably relieved to be left alone and unbullied for a while (I saw a healthy piglet sibling attempting to chew the other healthy ear of our one-eared wonder!). Will keep you posted re. developments and thanks again!

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