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close this bookBasic Husbandry Practices and Veterinary Care (IIRR, 1996, 60 p.)
View the documentForeword
View the documentBody parts of farm animals
View the documentNames of farm animals
View the documentFarm animals and their young
View the documentLivestock production
View the documentReproduction of poultry
View the documentBreeding
View the documentCare of calves and kids at birth
View the documentCare of piglets
View the documentFeeding orphaned animals
View the documentNutrition
View the documentDeworming
View the documentVaccination
View the documentCastration
View the documentHoof trimming
View the documentDehorning
View the documentClipping milk teeth of piglets
View the documentDisinfection of pen and equipment
View the documentWaste management and disposal
View the documentPesticides

Care of piglets

After birth, piglets are wet and covered with a thin mucus membrane. This membrane will dry and disappear very quickly. Most piglets will not need special attention from the hammer.

Reviving newborn piglets A newborn piglet may appear lifeless. Here are some methods for reviving piglets:

- Clear the piglet's nose and mouth of mucus.

- Gently shake the piglet with its head down to drain the mucus.

- Briskly rub a cloth up and down the piglet's back.

- Gently blow air into the piglet's nose; or hold the piglet on its back and gently pump the back legs forward and back until the piglet breathes.

- Dip the piglet into a bucket of water.

Keeping piglets warm

- Rub the piglet with vegetable oil.


- Put the piglets in a box.

- Provide a heating lamp (if electricity is available).

- Use chopped, dry rice straw or dried banana leaves for bedding. Slim rim hails straw or charcoal in a metal bucket to supply warmth.


Caution: Make sure the hot bucket does not burn the pigs or the pen.

Avoiding crushing newborn animals

Until they learn to get out from under her when she lies down, newborn piglets can easily be crushed by their mother. The harrowing area should have barriers to prevent the sow from crushing the piglets. After the first two week, the barriers can be removed.


Avoiding crushing newborn animals

Getting piglets to suckle

Sows develop their own styles of nursing. Some stand up; other lie an their side. After a day or two, each piglet will establish ownership of a teat. In a small litter, piglet may share the extra team. Weaker piglets get the hind teats. A sow may be able to feed more piglets than she has teats. But generally, it is better to take extra piglets away and place them with another recently harrowed sow or to raise the extra piglets on cow's milk.

Reminder: Make sure the piglets get the first milk from their natural mother before moving them to a foster mother.