JHP Homestead Farrowing Thread - Now hand raising piglets!

JHP Homestead

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We got Gert butchered and into coolers/refrigerators. Between trying to get the piglets to eat milk replace and nursing/holding our 8 week old; we didn’t get any of the final cutting done, but at least it’ll keep while we work on it the next couple days.

The piglets are refusing to eat. They were nursing on Gert before we killed her around 10 but since then we’ve only got a few of them to take a couple swallows each of milk replacer. We’ve tried both a bottle and shoving their nose into a shallow pan of milk. I doubt they can go too long without eating, so we’re praying they figure it out soon.
 

frustratedearthmother

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I found this - maybe it'll help.
http://livestocktrail.illinois.edu/porknet/questionDisplay.cfm?ContentID=5770

I do raise pigs but I've never raised orphans...but I have bottlefed critters of all kinds at one time or another. Most have turned their noses up at any type of commercial formula. Not to say it can't be done but I read in the above article that you can use whole cows milk or mix up a homemade formula.

@luvmypets might have an idea. I know she's bottle raised a pig or two. Not sure what she used for them. Hope she can chime in with some advice.
 

JHP Homestead

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I found this - maybe it'll help.
http://livestocktrail.illinois.edu/porknet/questionDisplay.cfm?ContentID=5770

I do raise pigs but I've never raised orphans...but I have bottlefed critters of all kinds at one time or another. Most have turned their noses up at any type of commercial formula. Not to say it can't be done but I read in the above article that you can use whole cows milk or mix up a homemade formula.

@luvmypets might have an idea. I know she's bottle raised a pig or two. Not sure what she used for them. Hope she can chime in with some advice.
Thanks! Thankfully they seem to have finally clicked on drinking the milk replacer out of the bowl! We had left some out there from the last feeding and that was all gone, then 4 of the 5 dove right in when I gave them some more. The 5th one sniffed and slurped at it but wasn’t too interested, so I’m hoping he just drank the leftovers and wasn’t hungry again yet.

We didn’t leave any out there after they were done this time. That way when DH feeds them again in a couple hours he can make sure all 5 drink good.
 

frustratedearthmother

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The sad thing sure is losing your sow - but the one good thing is that the little ones are PIGS - and pigs live to eat so I'm glad they seem to have figured it out.

I wish someone with more experience than me would chime in because I'm wondering when you can start mixing in some starter pellets with the milk. I have a litter right now that's about two weeks old and they do their best to scarf up the pellets/corn that their mama eats.
 

luvmypets

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They are quite large for a first time sow, I'm truly sorry you had to cull her. Did you find out how many she had left and how big the rest were? I hope these little angels can grow up big and strong for you. The one thing I have found is it can be difficult for the babes to figure out nursing at first but once they do they figure out their feeding schedule and get very demanding.

My profile picture is my first bottle baby Lucy, I pulled her at six days old so she had already been started on her mother's milk, however she hadn't eaten much in that time due to competition with her 10 siblings. The good thing is she was very hungry so at that point she was trying to find milk from everything around her. I used that to my advantage and taught her how to pan feed within an hour. It looks like your brood has figured out that the bowl of the white stuff is food. Easy way to tell if they have eaten is their muzzles will be covered in milk.

I did try to bottle feed another piglet but she passed at two weeks. I could never get her to pan feed and she never gained weight so I think there was something else wrong there.

I wish you the best of luck with these cuties! :hugs
 

Baymule

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I am so, so sorry about Gert. What a heartbreaker. I’m glad you have the piglets and they are doing well, they will help with the heartbreak of losing Gert. I know it was tough, but you made the right decision.

Formula recipe, 1 gallon cows milk, remove 2 cups. Add 1 can evaporated milk and 1 cup cultured buttermilk. The cultured buttermilk has live bacteria that is beneficial.
 

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Thanks for all the advice!

Gert had two more inside her, the stuck one which was pretty big, then a second smaller one.

I’m not sure why the piglets were big. We’ve had her on a diet since she was 6 months old and she had less fat in her than we expected when we butchered her, so I don’t think she was overweight. She weighed a bit less than 500# live weight according to the scale.
 

JHP Homestead

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The piglets seem to be doing pretty good drinking the milk replacer now.

I have a couple of questions though:
- there seems to be multiple recommendations on how much and how often to feed them. We’ve been making a batch of the replacer, which is 16 oz, and feeding that every 2 or 3 hours. They aren’t quite finishing it, so we’ve been leaving the extra for them to finish between feedings. So they’re basically free fed, is that ok for piglets?

- I’ve read a few things say to start putting some pig starter in their feed at a couple weeks old. I can’t seem to find something called pig starter, is the same feed that we give the feeder pigs ok to use for this? I think it’s 14% protein.
 
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