Piglet Depth and Temperature

Piglets Sleeping One Deep
Piglets One Deep

They say you can tell the temperature by cricket chirps. Another thing to monitor is piglet depth a.k.a. pig piling.

When piglets are at a very comfortable temperature they look like the ones above, spaced out about one piglet deep. My digital thermometer measured the air temperature at 50°F.

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If they’re cold they’ll start piling. A piglet and a half deep is not any cause for concern but two or three piglets deep can be a problem as the ones on the bottom might get squashed by the weight of those above.

Conversely, if it is too warm the piglets will spread out so they are not touching each other at all in an effort to stay cool.

Other things such as drafts can effect the piglets causing them to all huddle in one end of an area to the lee of some protection.

At the other end of the scale, warm composting deep pack bedding can make them comfortable on even cold winter days.

A passing glance at piglet piling tells one how comfortable they are which is more important than an absolute thermometer reading.

Outdoors: 31°F/14°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 66°F/60°F

Daily Spark:
Grammar and punctuation are very important and can keep us from cannibalism.
Consider:
“Time to eat, kids.”
vs
“Time to eat kids.”

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About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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5 Responses to Piglet Depth and Temperature

  1. Lynn Glazer says:

    awfully cute and very interesting :)

  2. Patrick says:

    Cute and useful to know.

    On an only tangentially related piglet question…one farmer who provides me pigs offered us an 18 month old Gilt/Sow who birthed 13 good looking piglets but they all died when she didn’t let down her milk. It was uber cold (the sow lives in southern VA where February normally feels like late spring in Vermont, but this year our February felt like Vermont). On top of that, she had to wait another week and a half for three sows to farrow and she had no adoptive mothers. They have a big farm and couldn’t bottle feed, for risk of losing other animals elsewhere (nothing here is used to the cold we had this year and everyone had to work it for a few months to get things like water to remote animals). The woman was rather dismayed and felt bad the sow.

    She was full disclosure on the girl and suggested that if we wanted to process something for ourselves, she’d offer a good deal. Her husband wanted to keep her, thinking the super cold threw the pig off. She comes from good lines, but mama farmer doesn’t want to risk the feed, or risk finding out a second batch of baby animals are dying and there is no time/ability to save them by hand.

    We might pick her up for dinner. But I curious of your view – do you ever give a girl like that second chance?

    • I think the cold probably threw her off and would give her another chance at breeding if her conformation is good and since she comes from good lines. We are going into the easy season where pasture is free (or at least the mortgage and taxes are paid either way) so keeping her is not expensive in our situation. If the cost of feed is added that will affect if she is a good deal or not for you.

  3. tina Nicholson says:

    do you have your sows give birth in their “pig house ” out in the pasture during the cold winter months or do you bring them inside a heated area where they’ll be warm?

    • We have open sheds and greenhouses for farrowing in the winter. The sows are not confined to them but they have them available. Some of the sows choose to farrow outside the sheds and they do fine. The composting deep bedding pack inside and out front of the sheltered areas provides heat from below and they build their nests on that. We do not close the pigs in to heated buildings as that would cause the build up of bad air which would damage their lungs. Fresh air is very important for animals’s health.

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