First Litter Question
June 10, 2013 at 6:10 pm #16760
I had a gilt deliver 2 under-developed babies still in sacs and one live (tiny) boar. He ended up dying the next day. She refused to let him nurse and would run him into a corner and “yell” at him. She would eventually lay down and call to him, but when he would wobble over to try and nurse, she would jump up and run around him, getting very loud and worked up. After I was positive no more babies were coming and after waiting several hours to see if he would ever nurse I pulled him. He made it fine on our fresh cows milk, but I put him on sav-a-calf. Big mistake, he immediately began to decline and finally became to weak to eat at all. This gilt’s sister had her first litter a week prior and delivered 8 healthy babies with zero loss. She has seen the motherly love from the other gilt to her litter, so not sure if I should give her another chance or cull her now. Thoughts? Help? ThanksJune 12, 2013 at 1:12 pm #18423
The second chance, a tough question. I normally give a first litter gilt a second chance after evaluating how much could be due to management, etc. It is a good sign her sister did well. We do need to select for farrowing even, healthy litters of 8 pigs plus, so if it is the same the next time, cull her.
I vaccinate my sows with a vaccine for reproductive health before each breeding/rebreeding. I feel that should be routine in any breeding program. Many disagree with using any injectables, but to me, a vaccination program for all ages, makes economical sense and protects the well-being of the pigs. AND, if we are going to sell feeder pigs and breeding stock we want to provide healthy, thrifty pigs. It is great to hope for the best, but preventative medicine can improve results in most areas of swine health. I also think one needs to provide optimum nutrition, vitamins and trace minerals for sows, for that matter all pigs. Yes, they can forage, but I still want to know they are getting basic proper nutrition.
I laud your attempt to bottle feed the little pig. It is tough to have a high survival rate doing so. For those that try it is almost imperative that the piglet get some of mother’s colostrum milk in the first few hours after birth. From my experience, it is amazing how much milk a baby pig can drink in a short period of time. But, it is hard to replace momma sow.June 12, 2013 at 4:27 pm #18424
We are natural/non-certified organic producers. I am not sure what vaccines, if any, we can provide. We have all our pigs on high quality non-gmo feed and provide minerals as well. I would love to hear what methods other producers of a similar nature are providing their LB’s. This particular gilt was very different from all my others. She was always pushy and very loud all the time, especially at feeding. She always seemed to “be in it for herself” for lack of better wording. My other girls are similar, at feeding, but this particular gilt always worried me in regards to her mothering ability. I hope this is a one time thing and she goes on to prove me wrong. She should come in estrus in the next day or so & I plan to re-breed her a second time and proceed from there. Another failed litter will be her last. I appreciate the response and thank you for your reply.June 13, 2013 at 1:22 pm #18426
First, disposition is definitely something we should consider in selecting breeding stock, boars or gilts. I see some difference in my two different sow lines. As like other traits, it is affected by genetics. I wish we could find better ways for individuals who are serious about making Large Blacks even better, to compare results, observations, and thoughts. Maybe one day we can have a Pig Summit?
Second, from my limited experience with organic certification, most of the commonly used vaccines meet their standards. Which makes sense, preventative medicine. In our effort to reduce uses of antibiotics vaccines become more important. No matter how we raise our pigs we need to put the well-being and health of the pig in the forefront. It sounds like you are doing a great job! Pork quality is affected bu many things, genetics, feed, environment, health to name a few. Our job as producers is to attempt to do the best in all these areas.June 13, 2013 at 5:43 pm #18428
Would you be willing to either post or email me a list of vaccines you provide? I am very new to this and most of the hog producers that are local to me, do not practice natural hog rearing. They have commercial operations or they feed left over “hot feed” from local turkey/chicken houses to their hogs, it is full of hormones and antibiotics. I have no one to really guide me in this. I have researched online, but organically grown info has been hard to find. I have a list of what is allowed, I just don’t know if I need to use it and when. I realize this is asking a lot, but I would greatly appreciate it. I don’t want my pig family to suffer from my ignorance. Oh & on topic of different sow lines and dispositions. The two sows I have are full sisters, Itty & Bitty. Bitty is super nice and calm/gentle. Itty is hell on hoofs. I have to admit though after that failed litter she has calmed down. Maybe it was a one time thing. I sure hope so. I have a beautiful litter of 8 from Bitty and would also be interested in knowing what vaccines, if any, you give your babes. They were born June 1. I did the castration and ear notching myself (thank you youtube!) and did give them an iron shot, for they are not on pasture until they are weaned. (We have a coyote problem here and it just isn’t safe.) Thanks so much, firstname.lastname@example.orgJune 13, 2013 at 11:35 pm #18429
I will email you with the protocol we use. My background is a vocational agriculture instructor with 25 years of raising pigs in all types of environments. I started in FFA in high school raising purebred Chester Whites, of which I have some of them now, in addition to my Large blacks and Tamworths. I even managed a 350 sow hog confinement back in my younger years. Amazing, thought that was the way, back then. Today I am trying to fine the happy medium of economical feasibility, labor efficiency, and pig well-being in a pasture based operation. I too learn everyday, and I thoroughly enjoy helping others. And, I am on a mission to raise the best Large Blacks in America.