Nursing sow concerns

AndreaS

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Hi All,

We have a 1 year old gloucestershire old spot sow who had piglets a week ago. This is her first litter and our second time going through the farrowing process so we're still newbies.

She had 8 piglets and they were all doing well. Last night we castrated the three boys and that went well also. When we returned them to the barn she didn't let them nurse right away. She seemed restless, walking in and out of the stall so we have her more food. She had just eaten her dinner while we took the boys away. We popped in and out several times last night and never saw any nursing.

This morning my husband went to check on them and the piglets were huddled against her back. I just went out again and they were laying against her belly. They woke up and tried to nurse but she shifted so her nipples were not exposed.

I may be overrhinking this, but last time we had a nursing sow and piglets we were able to catch them nursing very regularly. The last confirmed nursing session we witnessed was on Sunday.

The only thing I can think of is that when we castrated the boys I put a drop of lavender essential oil in my hands and rubbed it on their backs to help calm them. Now I'm feeling paranoid that the smell has messed with the sow.

I'll keep checking frequently today to see if I can catch a nursing session- the sow isn't showing any obvious signs of illness. I just don't know how long we can go before we have to start supplementing for the piglets and don't want them to go too long without nourishment.

Any ideas?

Really hope I'm being overly paranoid over here...

Thanks!

Andrea
 

AndreaS

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Hey Andrea. Congrats on the farrowing. Sorry the oils may have caused issues. I'll tag a couple folks who might be able to help. @misfitmorgan @Farmer Connie @mysunwolf @Mini Horses @frustratedearthmother And I'm sure there are others. Hope it all works out.

Thank you! We just saw her nurse them for about 10 minutes so are feeling optimistic. The runt really suffered during this little hiatus. We didn't think that she was going to make it through the night last night, but we brought her inside under a heat lamp, drenched her with molasses and goat replacer and now she's walking about this morning...so, fingers crossed!
 

misfitmorgan

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Generally young piglets going more then 24hrs without nursing would show obvious signs of hunger, depressed mood, weakness, etc. If the sow is ok with you being close to her check the piglets for milk bellies, check her teats to see how full/hard they are, express some milk to make sure she does not have mastitis. Generally if the sow lays with her back to her piglets or lays on her tummy so they can not nurse there is a reason. Either there is something wrong or she is just a poor mother. Have you noticed her shaking at all when she moves, stumbling, anything out of the norm?

If you can find nothing wrong and the piglets are still alive, I would assume they are nursing and your just not seeing them doing it.
 

misfitmorgan

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Thank you! We just saw her nurse them for about 10 minutes so are feeling optimistic. The runt really suffered during this little hiatus. We didn't think that she was going to make it through the night last night, but we brought her inside under a heat lamp, drenched her with molasses and goat replacer and now she's walking about this morning...so, fingers crossed!

You answered while i was! I'm glads you got to see them nursing. I dont think it was the oil that was the problem, even so i would skip if next time.
 

AndreaS

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You answered while i was! I'm glads you got to see them nursing. I dont think it was the oil that was the problem, even so i would skip if next time.

Thank you. The piglets seem ok, with the exception of the runt. They were all over her last night trying to nurse while she was standing, but they have not seemed weak or lethargic at all.

She is eating well, not shaky and very active- I suspect that is part of the problem. She seems antsy and is constantly in and out of the stall, walking around in the barnyard.

Her mother is due to be farrowing this week. We separated them right when this daughter sow was due. We'll be bringing the older sow up to the barn today to start nesting. I had wondered if that was part of the problem- they've always been together.
 

misfitmorgan

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You're welcome, i'm glad they are doing ok. Separation could very well be part of the problem, some pigs dont like to be alone even during farrowing.
 

Mini Horses

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I believe she will calm when other pig is closer. Animals are very sensitive to changes, especially of their BFF.

Move the other sow close and see if that doesn't help. Yes, I'd skip the oils next time, also. Congrats on the piglets.
 

AndreaS

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Just a little update for you guys.

Grandma pig joined us in the barn Wednesday, had 6 piglets and they all seem to be doing well now.

We've got the runt from the original litter in our bathroom under a heat lamp. She has latching issues so she's learning to drink replacer from a bowl. She's doing so much better but seems to have some respiratory stuff going on. I'll do some research but if anyone has any ideas I'd love to hear them. She's super active and hungry, drinking well, but breathing rapidly and sounding raspy.
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I'll add some pictures as a thank you :)



Really appreciate the help!
 
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