Little Lost Piglet

Will bottle feeding a runt

That is a little lost piglet. Of the eleven that were born on Wednesday that is the only one we lost. It came out weak and never started nursing or even stood. Normally I don’t do much in the way of interventions but we brought this one into the kitchen and tried nursing it to kick start it with the hope that perhaps it would survive. Even with a bottle it never suckled well and it never stood up so I suspect it had some congenial issues.

We have been remarkably unsuccessful in helping a faltering piglet. Over the years of the 20 or so piglets we’ve tried to help only about a handful of them have been successful and all of those grew up to be runts. Certainly none were ones I would want to keep as breeders or even sell as piglets since I would not want to foist a marginal pig off on someone else. Now in our defense, we only intervene in the absolute worst cases so they don’t have much of a chance to begin with.

We want animals with maximum hardiness as one of their characteristics because I don’t want to be out there every night at 2 am helping the sows. Some people’s style is to do lots of intervention during the birthing, the farrowing, from wiping the piglets down to treating them with iodine and giving them shots of vitamins, iron, etc. The goal of that is to maximize the number of piglets that survive per litter. Our goal is to maximize the number of hardy, healthy piglets weaned and that they are good growers. Usually the sows give birth out in the field in the middle of the night so I don’t even see the weak ones. In this case I was right there when it popped out so I was able to try to help, although Kita kept telling me no.

Life is harsh on the hill and the very weakest generally do die. That is reality. It leads to the evolution of a better animal in the long run. Our sows are weaning large litters of big healthy piglets so I’m pleased with how our breeding program is going. It is sad to lose a little one like this but there probably wasn’t anything that could realistically be done for it.

Outdoors: 26°F/18°F 13″ Snow, Windy from the southeast.
Farm House: 56°F/47°F three logs
Tiny Cottage: 55°F/44°F plumbing design

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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4 Responses to Little Lost Piglet

  1. PV says:

    Luv the new pix at the top!!!! Beautiful dog. And pigs to!

  2. Phelan says:

    We’re pretty sad when we lose little ones around here. I would love to have pigs, but are county doesn’t allow them. Good luck with your new ones.

  3. Nice to be able to have the farm and the piglets. Neat to be able to try to give life to the weaker ones. Keep up the good work.

  4. Karen B in northern Idaho says:

    I’ve also learned that if a chick is too weak to make it completely out of the egg or if it hatches but has problems like weak legs, trying to help it out of the egg or nurse it WON’T help it, it will die anyway. The strong survive on their own.

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