Feeding Orphaned Piglets

For the first two days, feeding orphaned piglets  should be done at regular intervals 5 times a day, for about 10 minutes each time. On the third and fourth day they should be fed four times a day, and after that 3 times a day. After 14 days, increase the quantity of milk at each feed, but gradually decrease the number of feeds per day. Gradually change over to more solid feed, so that by the age of about three weeks they should be able to take regular feed. If no nutritious feed is available they should continue on milk for a while longer. The weaker ones can be fed four times a day for a longer time. The figures in the table are maximum quantities- it is better to give too little rather than too much feed. There should be continuous supply of water, which should be boiled to avoid any contamination.

Feeding program for orphan piglets;

Day                              No. of Feeding Times                            Quantity each time(mL)

1                                              5                                                               30

2                                              5                                                            40-45

3                                              4                                                               60

4                                              4                                                               70

5-7                                           3                                                            80-100

8-9                                           3                                                              120

10-11                                       3                                                              140

12-4                                         3                                                              160

As soon as possible, the orphan piglets should move onto regular food. This should be of good quality, protein-rich, and easily digestible. Note-despite the amount of care they receive, hand-reared piglets will never grow as fast as those reared by a mother sow.

Feeding Orphaned Piglets: Weaning;

Successful early weaning of pigs requires skill and attention to detail in all areas. Weaning is a great challenge to the young pig. Knowledge of the nutrient requirements, health status and growth patterns for modern breeds or early-weaned pigs continue to develop. Early weaning of piglets at 14-21 days increases sow productivity through the potential increase in the number of litters per sow per year.

Feeding Orphaned Piglets: Selection of Replacement;

  1. Boars must be replaced when they become too large to serve most sows on the farm
  2. Boars usually have a maximum working life of between 18 and 24 months. This means they should be replaced when they are 30 to 36 months old.
  3. It is very important to keep record of the boars’ use so that infertile ones can be detected and replaced as soon as possible
  4. A low sex drive(libido) can also be a problem. Some boars are slow workers and are sometimes reluctant and only now then willing to work. Attention must be given to these boars so that they can  be replaced if necessary
  5. If replacement gilts are not available when needed or they do not comply with the requirements, the gilts should be bought. N/B) It is advisable to buy them from the same farm where the boars come from, because in this way the previous owner can advice you on the breeding policy for a small pig farm.

Feeding Orphaned Piglets: Castration;

1. Male piglets are castrated to prevent their meat from boar taint. Castration also makes them more manageable when they become sexually mature. Castration should be done in the first two weeks of a piglets life. The animals should be fit and healthy. If this is not the case, it is better to postpone the operation. Two people are needed when castrating a piglet.

Castration step by step;

Step 1; Wash and wipe the scrotum with a disinfectant

Step 2; Press one testicle against the scrotal skin to tighten the skin over the testicle. Make a cut, large enough to allow the testicle to be pushed out. Uses a very sharp and clean knife for the operation.

Step 3; Pull the testicle out, so that the attached cord is also pulled to the outside

Step 4; Hold the exposed testicle with the left hand while the cord is twisted twice

Step 5; Cut the cord attached to the testicle by scraping away with the edge of the knife. There is more bleeding if the cord is cut in one stroke or sweep of the blade.

Step 6; Afterwards wash the wounds thoroughly with a disinfectant like iodine to prevent infection. The other testicle is removed i the same way.


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