This will be the first litter we have had. Is there anything special we should do before the litter is born? Will the mother need any special feed? A friend of mine told me you need to feed the mother more protien about a week before she gives birth, to keep her from eating the piglets. If this is true, what should I be feeding her. Her normal feed is a commercial pig feed and whole corn, 50/50. Plus she is on pasture.
We have never fed the sow any extra food before she farrows and have had no problems. Feeding the sow more while the piglets are developing means that she has more nutrients to pass on to the piglets, which is a good thing, but as I say we have never done it and ours do well.
Generally there should not be an issue with the mother eating her piglets, LBs are good like that. Having said that I have spoken to 2-3 members about problems where their gilts have attacked their piglets. Personally I put this down to genetics rather than diet and would give the gilt one more chance and then make her into sausage if she repeated the behavior.
Although, pigs are pigs, each breed has certain general traits that the others don’t necessarily have. When someone who is used to raising intensively commercial pigs gives advice it may only be relevant for intensively commercial pigs and not heritage breeds.
We have had good sows eat piglets. Mainly other sows piglets. You must remember these creators live in a survivor world. IF they were in the wild they would do everything in their power to protect only their own. So sometimes a good sow will eat the young of a non-confrontational sow.
New sow is docile, so the aggressive sow thinks she should be the only one with piglets that survive. Its best if you can separate the new moms from the herd, but only if they can still see and hear the herd. They need to be able to incorporate back in as soon as possible. Mothers do unite. Like moms at a park with infants. they even assign someone to be in charge of all piglets (master mom).
Thanks for the information. The litter was born on the 2nd of August and all is going well. We only had one still born, the other six are doing great and the mother is very good. Thanks again for putting my mind at rest.