Childbirth is one of the natural things of all living things on Earth to maintain their species. Each animal species, including humans, has its own unique and distinctive way of giving birth as well as the pregnancy period. As one of the most familiar animals to humans, especially farmers, how long does it take for a pig to have babies?
How long does it take for a pig to have babies?
The whole pregnancy period of a pig from conception to childbirth can take more than 10 months. Specifically, the gestation period of a pig follows a rule called “The Rule of Three” – 3 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days. A well-fed female pig can give birth to at least 10 piglets from each pregnancy and can deliver 2 litters per year.
A pig’s breeding period can be any time of the year, however, pigs can become infertile in the warmer months. Female pigs that are healthy and well-bred can give birth safely twice a year. However, some say that they can be ready to mate about a week after the piglets are weaned.
To safely breeding the pigs on the farm, farmers need to carefully observe the physical condition and health of their pigs, then prepare the facilities in advance to ensure safety and convenience for pigs to give birth.
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Pig production cycle
There are 6 stages in the pig production cycle.
When female pigs reach puberty from 10–30 days, they will be introduced to boars around 25–28 weeks old. This is how the farmer determines if she is in heat or not. After that, the female pigs will be spontaneously mated with boars or inseminated artificially. It is considered responsible for animal welfare and a good way of animal treatment.
After being mated, the female pigs will be moved to the pregnant area of the pig barn. They will stay there for about 116 days of the pregnancy period. To ensure a comfortable pregnancy for the pig, the farmer must always make sure that the pig’s dwellings are clean and disinfected.
About a week before farrowing, they are transferred to the farrowing barn. In order for pigs to give birth safely, farmers need to thoroughly clean the breeding barn, and keep it clean, then wash pregnant female pigs with mild detergents and warm water before she goes to the barn for birth.
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The sows nurse the piglets for about 3-5 weeks in the farrowing area.
When the piglets are weaned, the sows are brought back to the pigpen area and the piglets are moved to a weaner place.
Depending on the needs of the farms, growing pigs can be moved to a pig nurturing area on the same farm or another facility.
How to take care of the piglets?
Sometimes the number of piglets born after the birthing period of sows on the farm is very large. For that reason, the pig farmer needs certain skills to ensure the comprehensive development of the piglets.
Breastfeed is essential for piglets as soon as they are born, especially in the first hour after birth. However, if a sow dies during farrowing, the piglets can be raised by other sows.
If the sow dies and there is no foster mother, the farmer can choose to manually feed the piglets. To hand feed piglets, a farmer needs to follow these instructions:
- Prepare a cleaned bottle with nipple for piglets to drink milk
- Arrange a clean dry and warm box for newborn piglets so that they can stay in a warm place
- Set feeding time for the piglets regularly every 1-2 hours.
- Farmers can replace sow’s colostrum with cow’s colostrum as it contains the nutrients suitable for piglets.
The gestation period of a pig is the most important and dangerous time for female pigs. Without the care and well-prepared birthing facilities of the farmers, the sows could lose their lives due to the harsh birthing process and the piglets may not be born. This easily leads to a loss of the farmer’s revenue to offset the costs of livestock.