Managing newborn piglets requires strict attention and care. Unlike other animals, these newborns are more vulnerable to so many factors that can affect a good start in life. Very little body fat and zero immunity upon birth are just a few of them. To keep these piglets in the pink of health, know what to do early on. Read and learn how you can give these newborn pigs the proper care they need necessary for good performance during later stages of production.
1. Keep them warm.
Newborn piglets have very little body fat which they need to keep themselves warm and protected. Warmth is critical to their survival, as most piglets die due mostly to chilling. To avoid this, maintain a temperature of at least 90 degrees F for the first few days. On colder days, what helps will be a heat lamp placed 1 to 2 feet away from the pigs. Keep the piglets away from cold floors. Avoid putting them outdoors where there’s cold air or breeze.
2. Provide immediate nutrition.
As piglets are technically born with zero immunity, it’s crucial that they are immediately given the nourishment that will boost their immune system. They can only get this from their mother’s colostrum, the first milk that comes out from the sow after giving birth. It’s an essential source of nutrients and antibodies needed for survival. Colostrum from the sow should be taken within the first 6 hours. Immediate nutrition is crucial because piglets cannot anymore absorb the colostrum’s antibodies after 24 hours. Sows too can only produce colostrum for the first 12 hours.
3. Manage the number of piglets per litter.
To be able to provide equal chances of feeding, make sure that the number of functioning teats matches the number of feeding piglets. This gives the piglets quick and easy access to their mother’s colostrum which is highly essential for survival and optimum growth.
4. Provide a creep space.
Not all newborn piglets are born the same. Some are naturally smaller and weaker, which makes them susceptible to getting crushed when mixed with bigger piglets in the litter or getting laid on by the sow after suckling. Hence, a creep area is recommended. This is the safe area where the baby pigs, especially the smaller ones, can lie down and warm themselves. Put the piglets in their creep area after suckling for approximately one hour. For bedding, it helps to put some straw or hay that can help maintain the right environmental temperature.
Know the basics of primary care for newborn piglets to avoid piglet mortality. The early days are the most crucial so the sooner you do strict monitoring and care, the better chances for these newborn pigs to survive and perform better in their lives.