A nutritious diet with a balanced ration for any pig is a must to achieve its potential growth and optimize your profitability. So, what do baby pigs eat? This question must be seriously taken care of as a baby pig’s health will lay a foundation for its development later. Let’s find out the answer in the following post.
What do baby pigs eat?
Newborn piglets need colostrum from the sow. As piglets are born without any immune protection, colostrum is the only way to protect them in this critical phase. Colostrum contains a rich source of highly digestible nutrients and natural growth factors for the normal development of vital life-sustaining organs.
If newborn piglets do not receive enough colostrum from the sow, the chance of survival is not high.
If porcine colostrum is unavailable, goat milk can be the substitute. Milk replacer needs to be in good condition and remember to discard any milk replacer that you do not use within 12 hours. Make sure to warm the milk to above human body temperature, like a baby human’s bottle.
You can feed baby pigs with an eyedropper while they receive colostrum. When newborn piglets start drinking replacer, you can switch to a bottle or put the liquid in a flat dish.
According to the Oregon State University Extension Service website, newborn piglets nurse about 15 times in their first day of life, and each nursing episode lasts roughly five minutes.
During the first 7 days, piglets need feeding every 3 to 4 hours. When they are 2 weeks old, you can feed them four times a day. At 3 weeks, start them on solid pig chow. Continue nursing them at least 3 times daily until they wean, after 1 or 2 months.
Taking care of baby pigs
Caring for piglets requires a higher degree of care and knowledge than other baby animals because they are born in large litters and very reliant on one another for warmth and friendship.
The first few weeks are important in laying the groundwork for pigs to have a healthy life. Below are some useful tips to help you ensure baby pigs’ health and wellbeing, aiming at decreasing early piglet mortality and increasing weaning weights.
Newborn pigs’ bodies contain little fat reserve and almost no hair. Therefore, they are extremely sensitive to cold weather and drafts, which can cause diarrhea, lymphadenitis, higher mortality, and even an increase in tail biting.
The ideal temperature for newborn pigs is at 95°F. You can reduce the temperature by 5° weekly until the pig is weaned. Gas or electric heaters, heat lamps, or heated floor mats are common heat devices in farrowing houses.
Don’t forget to check the sow’s temperature immediately after birth and every 12 hours of the first two or three days.
Receiving adequate colostrum and milk from the sow is crucial for piglets’ survival and long-term health. During the first 24 hours, they should nurse 15 times and receive his nutrition solely from the sow for his first 2 to 3 weeks. They should be nursed until 6 to 8 weeks old.
A newborn pig should eat a half-ounce of milk per feeding while a week-old piglet should consume 1 ounce at each feeding. Remember to feed them every four hours.
Provide adequate bedding from hay, straw, wood shavings, or shredded paper to keep your piglets stay healthy and comfortable.
Sanitation is also important. In addition to scrub the farrowing quarters with 2% of chlorine solution to eliminate dirt and bacteria, scrub the sow with soap and water to prevent her from spreading bacteria to her piglets.
After birth, dose the navel in iodine antiseptic to prevent infection and anemia. Newborn pigs require a great deal of this mineral since they are deficient in iron and do not receive enough this mineral from the sow milk.
Supplying uncontaminated soil in the pig area or a box of dirt for them to play in is another method of supplying iron. This is an easy way to help them receive adequate iron naturally in lieu of through an injection which has been known to cause diarrhea.
So, I guess you have already known what baby pigs eat as well as the importance of colostrum in surviving them. Taking care of baby pigs may require you more time and energy but I’m sure the result will deserve what you paid. Hope you all enjoy your time with your tiny yet cute piglets!