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6 Tips for Successful Sow Farrowing & Lactation

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Are you a beginner slowly learning the ropes of pig farming? Then you’ve come to the right place! Here are tips to ensure successful farrowing and lactation for your sow and newly born piglets. 

Be there when it happens

It’s a fact that animals can successfully give birth on their own. However, being present and committed to them can give you the assurance and peace of mind that they are healthy, happy, and safe throughout the entire farrowing process. And while it seems impossible to watch over your sow 24/7, being on-the-spot is the only way that you are going to be able to accomplish any of the remaining steps below. 

Be equipped with the necessary tools

Here are the must-have tools in a farrowing situation:

  • OB lube and sleeves – these materials help with assisting any piglets who may be in a jeopardizing position inside the sow and are unable to get out on their own. They also help maintain a clean environment for the handler and the sow.
  • A hand towel – this wicks off any moisture from the piglets.
  • Drying powder – it helps to swiftly dry off the piglet and decrease any additional heat loss.
  • Calcium – this nutrient helps rehabilitate the possible calcium imbalance happening to the sow’s body, since contracting muscles require a lot of calcium.

Prepare the ideal farrowing environment

The birthing process is as tiring for sows as it is for humans. So we have to make sure that we give them a comfortable space at this sensitive hour. Here’s a handy checklist to get you started:

  • The room should be quiet to decrease stress for the sow.
  • Make sure the area is cleaned, dried, and disinfected, and preheated.
  • Place a farrowing mat to reduce swine disease transfer among the piglets.
  • The heat lamps should be placed properly at the rear of the crate over the mat to achieve a consistently warm temperature. 
  • Have a kit ready with all the farrowing tools. 

Dry off the piglets and make sure they are warm

The piglet goes through a drastic temperature change the moment it is born, so it is absolutely necessary that you dry them off immediately with the hand towel and drying powder. This process of hand drying stimulates blood flow and wakes them up for nursing. Make sure the heat lamp is on so the farrowing mats can absorb the heat and give them a comfortable surface to lay on.

Continue daily evaluation for proper health

As a pig farmer, you must learn how to look for signs if your sow or piglets are uncomfortable. If the piglets are lying on top of her, this may be a serious sign that the mom is not feeling well. Remember to take note of this detail and revisit the next day. This slow but fruitful process will teach you what works and what doesn’t. 

Maximize milk production in sows

Now that the piglets are born, we have to make sure that they stay healthy through quality milk production from the sow. Boosting the sow’s feed intake can help increase the subsequent milk and reproduction performance of sows. Here are more ways you can increase milk production:

  1. Correct water intake
  2. Body condition and temperature maintenance
  3. Reduction of pathogen load
  4. Addressing inflammation or energy loss.

For more basic pig farming tips, click here.

SOURCES:

https://foodandswine.com/successful-farrowing/

http://www.positiveaction.info/pdfs/articles/pt31_5p7.pdf

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