Skip to main content

Getting ready to Farrow

 This time of year the question "What do we need to have and know to farrow our first gilt?" shows up in our inbox and on social media a bunch.  

We aren't going to go into facilities except to say you need somewhere that you can keep 70 degrees or so draft free and provide supplemental heat for the pigs.  

The first list of things are what you might need if you have to assist her.  As a rule we try to avoid assisting if we can but show pig producing gilts are decidedly not maternal and sometimes we have to help.  We like to tell folks to get two rubbermaid like totes.  One for the farowing gear and a second in case you want to split suckle. (More on that latter.)

Inside the first tote you want to have  at a minimum OB Sleeves, lubricant, pig puller,  chlorhexidine disinfectant, a small bucket, paper towels, a bottle of calcium gluconate, syringes and needles, and a spray bottle of iodine.  In addition to what is in the container you also want to have a drying agent available. Drygiene is our favorite. Putting it on pigs after they are born helps them warm faster and studies have shown they will get to a nipple to nurse faster.  You'll also want a bottle of oxytocin in the refrigerator but we really advise you not to use it unless its absolutely necessary and work with your veterinarian on when and how to give it.  Oxytocin is a prescription product so when you are getting the prescription is a good time to talk about it.  Other things you need to have on hand but don't need to keep in your tote are a broad spectrum antibiotic, ear notcher, #12 castration blades, scalpel handle and side cutter,  The side cutter is for tails there is no need to clip teeth and it actually does more harm than good.

If your gilt stalls out we like to give them 60-100 ml of calcium gluconate before we do any other interventions like sleeving them or a dose of oxytocin. As far as farrowing interventions Darin Kulow did a good job going through that on his blog a couple years ago. We aren't going to repeat what he wrote and you can find that blog here

If you assist one we strongly recommend a broad spectrum antibiotic to the sow to help her ward off any infection. Talk to your vet about what they recommend but penicillin is not a broad spectrum antibiotic.

We like to apply iodine to the navel as they are born. To be honest, it's probably as much habit as something that has any basis in science. 

After the pigs are farrowed you might want to split suckle them to ensure they all get adequate colostrum. Sort the biggest or strongest half of the litter and put them in that second rubbermaid container for about an hour or until the smaller weaker half of the litter nurses.  Use a heat lamp to keep the pigs in the box warm but not too warm.  

Once you've got pigs born the schedule goes something like this:

Day 1 Iron and ear notch use the iodine on the ears.  The Barrier product we linked has a local                         anesthetic for pain management

            Do any cross fostering within 24 hours.  

            Some farms give an antibiotic at this time if they have a history of a specific disease. Talk this                 over with your vet An antibiotic isn't an absolute necessity. 

Day 7  Process the litter castration and tail docking  (Use the Barrier iodine for on these wounds as                     well)

            Administer a second dose of iron

Day 10-14 Start creep feed

Day 21-24 Wean

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What You Need in Your Show Pig Medicine Cabinet

One of the frequent things I get asked is what medications show pig families should have on hand. Administering medications to food animals is serious business and proper care should be taken to use the right product at the right time the right way. Make sure that people that are doing so are properly trained and keep appropriate records. The goal here is not to replace the advice you get from your veterinarian. Some of the drugs that we will discuss are prescription and some you will use extra label so your relationship with your local veterinarian is critical.This is meant to provide some baseline information on a few common medications and how they are used.  Before we get to the medications let’s talk equipment. Having the right gear is mission critical and will save you time, money, and frustration.   Syringes: I really like the Ardes syringes for giving individual animal treatments. The fit in your hand and are lots easier than trying to use a disposable and

Ulcers in Show Pigs

 One of the topics that always come up are ulcers in show pigs.  There are some infectious diseases that cause vomiting along with scours and certain mycotoxins can cause vomiting.  With those exceptions when you see a show pig vomiting they almost certainly have a gastric ulcer.  So what are the causes of gastric ulcers?      1. Anything that makes pigs go off feed.         2. Feed that is too small particle size. (Ground too fine)     3. Vitamin E/ Selenium deficiency     4. Copper toxicity     5. Significant parasite load  Helicobacter pylori is often found in the mucus lining of the pig stomach and is believed to be an infectious component of gastric ulcers in pigs. Of the five common causes we listed by far the most common one is anything that makes a pig go off feed.  In studies that were meant to measure the effect of out of feed events in finishing pigs they found that about 80% of otherwise healthy pigs that were out of feed for 24 hours developed ulcers. When they extended th