What Do You Do To Help A Sow When Farrowing?

I have been asked what small-scale farmers should know to aid in birthing pigs (farrowing).

We raise our pigs on dirt, however, we do farrow in pens. First timers are crated for our safety and the piglets. We bring them in the barn about 5 days before their due date; which is 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days from the date of mating. They are moved into their crate 24 hours before they are due.

When the sows milk is able to be expressed from her teats and her vulva swells, pigging should occur within 24 hours. Once the sow is down and actively pushing, expect 4 to 10 hours until all of her piglets are delivered. If there is a long standstill between piglets (longer than 30 minutes) glove up, go in, and make sure the piglet is coming through the canal ok. A dead piglet cannot work it’s way out on its own through the birthing canal so you may have to manually assist our inject the sow with 2cc of Oxytocin.

I work all if my piglets as they are being presented. I cut the tails, cut the teeth, inject 1 cc of iron and notch ears right then and there. Moms concentrating on birthing, so she’s less likely to get worked up and the piglets are eager to suckle afterward.

I also wipe the piglets dry and have a heat lamp on them. They are under lights for at least 21 days.

After birthing is complete, I clean the area and add the fresh straw, feed mom all she wants and keep constant water in front of her I pull her piglets at 21 days.

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