|Ethnoveterinary Medicine in Asia : Swine (IIRR, 1994, 72 p.)|
Care of newborn
At birth, piglets are wet and covered in a thin mucous membrane. This membrane will dry and disappear very quickly. Most piglets will not need special attention from the farmer. However, sometimes they need help.
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 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 and rhythmically pump the back legs forward and back until the piglet breathes.
- Dip the piglet into a bucket of water (this might shock it to life) and then rub it dry with a cloth.
- If a piglet is listless, cover it with a large cooking pot. This protects the piglet from drafts and helps the piglet retain its body heat. (Cambodia)
When the piglet is born, the umbilical cord will hang from the animal. Within 2-3 days, it will dry and fall off. (Note: it is recommended to treat the navel by applying iodine, wood ash or powdered limestone.)
Keeping piglets warm
It is very important to keep piglets warm. Here are some techniques for doing this:
- Rub the piglets with vegetable oil.
- Put newborn piglets in a box.
- Provide a heating lamp (if electricity is available).
- Use chopped, dry rice straw or dried banana leaves for bedding.
- Use empty jute sacks as bedding.
- Burn rice husks, straw or charcoal in a metal bucket to supply warmth.
- Long rice straw might tangle the piglets, causing them to fall
under the sow and be crushed.
- Care must be taken to ensure that the bucket is properly placed so pigs are not burned.
Build a piglet warm-box from sheets of wood, making sure to leave an exit and a portion of the roof open. To provide warmth, hang a light bulb over the roof opening.
A piglet shelter can be constructed from wood and jute. Build a low, rectangular frame of wood and wrap it tight with jute.
Avoiding crushing newborn piglets
Newborn piglets can easily be crushed by their mother, until they learn to get out from under her when she lies down. The farrowing area should have barriers to prevent the sow from crushing the piglets. After the first two weeks, the barriers can be removed.
Getting piglets to suckle
Sows develop their own styles of nursing. Sometimes, they stand up; sometimes they lie on their side. After a day or two, each piglet will establish ownership of a teat. In a small litter, piglets might share the extra teats. Weaker piglets get the hind teats. A sow might be able to raise more piglets than she has teats. But generally, it is better to take extra piglets away and place them with another recently farrowed sow (or raise the extra piglets on cow's milk).
Often, a sow will drive off or kill piglets that are not her own, but she can be fooled into accepting foster piglets. Rub the piglets and the nose of the foster sow with the urine of the foster sow or with vinegar. Also, keep the foster piglets in a box with the natural piglets of the sow so their smells will blend.
Make sure the piglets get some colostrum (the first milk) from their natural mother before moving them to a foster mother