Thursday, February 25, 2016

Spring piglets - pictures

 Piglets on the ground right now.  The sows are given private stalls for the first three weeks, and then they're moved to a group housing situation with other sows and piglets about the same size.  The group-housed sows are given access to the fields and seem to like grazing for a portion every day.

of course, if you're going to go out and graze, the piglets will follow.  Pretty cute seeing them out there in a group.  The last two pictures are the same pigs.


Unknown said...

What is your average litter size. My outdoor pigs have low litters and im worried

Bruce King said...

Farrowing outdoors is pretty difficult for me too. I started trying to do farrowing outdoors, and then in small shelters I provided the pigs, and then finally started bringing the pregnant pigs into the barn to have their piglets because I lost too many if I left them in the field.

My pigs have an average of 12 piglets per litter, but I'm weaning 7 on average. The most common cause of mortality is the mother stepping on them or laying on them and crushing them. Some of the pigs are very good mothers; and for them I have found that farrowing pens are both comfortable for the pig and for the farmer. For pigs that aren't good mothers i put them into farrowing crates.

Farrowing crates will wean 2 to 3 more pigs on average for the bad mothers. I get the same results with good mothers in pens, but I can't tell which pigs will be good and which will not be until I start losing (or not losing...) piglets.

Industry uses farrowing crates as a standard, and does so to maximize the number of pigs weaned. Farrowing crates definitely save pig lives.