Monday, March 3, 2014


This little pig is probably not going to make it.  I brought it into the house and put it on an old sweatshirt, and carefully fed it via an eye dropper, and it's more comfortable now than it was.  I'm not sure what the issue was; most of the time you find a little pig that is off from the sow, cold, just fading off.

Sometimes I'll look at the pig and if it's got some sort of issue...  well, I'll just push it up against the sow so that this little pig can smell mom and feel her, and I'll come back in a few hours and remove the dead pig,
but this one doesn't have any obvious issues.   sometimes I don't find them until the morning; the decision
has been made; the verdict reached.

The sow is busy with the other 12 littermates; she's got lots of squealing, fighting piglets that are doing their best to keep ahead of their littermates, and little guys like this just fade away.  it's a reality with an animal that has litters; some of them nature culls.

So I pick it up and it doesn't really respond; a slow movement, an attempt at a squeal.  Cold ears, very cold.  Cold belly.  Sometimes the little pigs, if they're right on the edge, die in your hands.  you can feel them die; it's unmistakable, right when you touch them.  I've had that happen a couple of hundred times for the ten thousand or so piglets I've produced over the years.  it happens, and I really don't like it, but sometimes it's for the best.

I'll feel the life go out of the little pig, and I'll look at it, and say to myself "thank you for coming; wish you were here longer", and I'll put the pig aside until I come back after my chores and pick it up as the last thing.   I think i do that because i want to have the illusion, however faint, that the pig is still here.  but it's not, and
they never come back.  it's sad.

so this little pig is making slow movements on its sweatshirt as I type this.  every few minutes i reach over and make sure that it's not too hot, and turn it over so that the heat can get to all of its cold little body.  he's
a little more active than most, and I have some hope that he'll make it, but probably not.  but I try.   A little bit of milk out of the eye dropper to keep his mouth moist; some swallowing motions are a good sign.

thank you for coming; hope you are here longer.

Note; if you're doing this, the goal is to get them warmed up and active enough to return to the sow as soon as possible.  the sow can do a better job than any human, and her colostrom is needed for this pigs long
term health.  if you keep this pig away for more than a day or so, you're committed to bottle feeding it until weaned, like a bummer lamb, and there's a fair chance that it will die of something when it's 2-3 months old because it didn't get the colostrom it needed now.  So intervene, but do so with a plan.


becky3086 said...

I have bottle fed so many babies, never a pig. We have lost a lot of them and only saved a few but still we try too.

AKPonyGirl said...

I have found, with lambs, that the fastest easiest way to warm up a cold newborn is to put the critter in a plastic bag with the head sticking out and immerse it in a bucket of warm water. I have been successful putting the lamb back on momma with no problems. I don't know about pigs.

I hate losing each and every lamb because it impacts the bottom line and I really do need the income.