No.Three is Moved to a New Pen -Leaving Junior Alone -for Fattening
Pinkie Visits No.Three
'..and No.Three Visits Pinkie
Pinkie and No.Three Get Together Again
and then Separated Later
No.Three has an Infected Backside
No.Three Improving After Treatment
No.Three is Still Responding To
No.Three has Problems Again
No.Three gets Treated Again
No.Three still under Treatment
No.Three is still being Treated -but
A Start is made with Cleaning Up the
Maternity Suite and Collecting Compost
No.Three Continues her Treatment
No.Three's Treatment Continues
Preparing and Repairing the Empty Pen
No.Three Now Back to Normal
No.Three is Moved to the Maternity
Tuesday, October 23:
Wednesday, October 24:
By the 6 am feeding -No.Three was suckling a
whole bunch of piglets -but was too tired to get up and eat.
So we didn't bother her by trying to count them.
One piglet seems to be already dead -but we left it in, so as not to disturb the mother.
8.30 am She was still lying down in nest
suckling her piglets.
So we fed her (high protein) Tricanthera leaves at the nest.
While I was thinking about taking her some
water -she got up and went to the trough
where she was given water with a mild antibiotic and a bowl of food prepared by Fatima.
We also gave her some of the usual green
forage freshly collected from the garden.
She seemed very hungry. After eating she went back to the nest.
Around 9.00 AM, there were squeals from
fighting piglets -but order was soon restored.
11 AM Fatima fed her with lactating feeds.
4 PM feeding: No,Three was waiting to be fed.
While she was eating, Fatima went in and retrieved the dead piglet she had seen at 6 AM this morning
(it had become buried underneath the nesting material). I buried it in the garden.
Fatima put soil and grass into the creep space for the piglets -so they could ingest iron from the soil.
Thursday, October 25:
6.am: No interest in food or water. Just
lying down suckling.
Some piglets suckle quietly -but others are very unruly and move around from teat to teat and get into fights.
brown piglets seem to be the most aggressive -and some piglets
will fight over a teat
-even though there are some still free.
8.45 am -Sponged neck with cold water and
gave a little fresh water to drink -directly into her mouth.
Still no interest in eating tricanthera leaves (given earlier -or new fresh ones).
The piglets are starting to explore the pen
-and a few have entered the creep space
-but have not yet discovered the hole in the wall...
11 am -not eating or drinking -but still
Washed neck a little -but difficult due ti
lying position against wall.
Gave two bottles of water -which she drunk from the bottle.
Some piglets are already starting to explore
the "restaurant" outside the pen.
Suckling seems to be fairly orderly -although
still the occasional squabble.
Around 12.15 No.Three gets up to eat and drink from the trough.
Later she lays down by the trough.
Sometimes seems a bit irritated by the
Some normal discharge from her vagina.
Piglets are getting bolder with regards to
Fatima thought the piglets fighting was annoying No.Three.
So she called Nestor -the technician to come and cut the piglets teeth.
He arrived around 3 pm. Penny went as well, and so there were four people discussing how best to get the piglets without upsetting No.Three. Penny then noticed that one of the piglets was limping, apparently its leg had been stood on -but the loud noise of her comment was a bit disturbing and No.Three was starting to get a bit jumpy.
Eventually Fatima went in and picked up one of the biggest troublemakers --she quickly gave it to Nestor to put in a box while she collected the others -but it started squealing and upset No.Three who was quite agitated. Fatima decided to leave the pen. Nestor cut the piglets teeth and returned it to its mother -which quietened her down a bit. However, she was still a bit nervous.
As a result, we decided on another approach: I would try and attract No.Three with food and take her for a walk behind the pen -where she could be fed and distracted while Nestor did his work.
Getting her out of the pen was not too
However, she soon got distracted by a bucket of water -which she drank. Then she started to enjoy the feeling of freedom and started wandering off in the wrong direction. The excitement of being out was grater than the temptation of the deliciously rattling food bucket -or the memory of her piglets.
After a few twists and turns -she ended
up in the piglets "restaurant" area.
Unfortunately, it only has one gate in it.
Getting a pig to move backwards appears to be almost impossible -and so we were stuck with the problem of getting her out. Eventually, she solved the problem by jumping over the fence.
By this time she was really enjoying her adventure and had lost interest in the food bucket. We thought that the sounds of the piglets would lure her back home -but when Nestor picked up a piglet it didn't squeal.
When he did pick one up that squealed, No.Three ignored it and wandered off to explore the garden further.
Eventually, Fatima got two irresistibly delicious coconut buds -and managed to lure her back to the pen.
After eating them she had a good drink
and lay down half in and half out of the trough.
It certainly seems as if her adventure
did her a lot of good.
For the rest of the evening everything seemed much quieter.
Friday, October 26:
6 am feeding -No.Three seemed back to
normal. Eating and drinking as usual.
A bit of a cold night -and tat first glance the
piglets were invisible:
But closer inspection revealed them all huddled together in a corner partly hidden by dry banana leaves.
10,30 am -No three suckling, eating and
Piglets perhaps avoiding creep space area -perhaps because that is where their teeth were cut yesterday.
Around 2.30 PM Fatima saw No.Three lie down on
Its feet were sticking out from under her rump.
Luckily, Fatima got No.Three to stand up using food as bait and she was able to retrieve and revive it.
However, Fatima saw another dead piglet
lying under the nesting material
-unfortunately it had been dead too long and could not be revived.
I buried it in the garden.
Until this incident, it had been a very quiet
and event-less day
-with both mother, piglets, and humans apparently recovering from the adventures of yesterday.
Saturday, October 27:
Sunday, October 28:
Monday, October 29:
Tuesday, October 30:
Wednesday, October 30:
Notes on Crushing:
Crushing is a complex problem -and we continue to look for a pattern that might help prevent it.
Sometimes the weak, or sick, piglets animals get crushed -and sometimes it is the bigger ones. Sometimes the aggressive ones get killed and sometimes the less aggressive.
Basically, it seems like a random problem: The sow lies down to suckle -an is often quite careful when doing so. After a while she stops and lies on her teats to prevent further suckling. Shortly afterwards, she relaxes and lies down in a resting position. It is at this point that crushing seems to occur. Usually, it is the rump area that does it. If a piglet is lying in that area -with its head towards the mother -then it is likely to be crushed without making a sound. If it lies with its feet towards its mother it is more likely to cry out -and be saved by the mother getting up.
After a while, it seems that some piglets learn to sleep away from the mother -but this behaviour needs both time and victims for it to be learned by each individual piglet. An inactive piglet might be crushed because it is weak -but an active piglet might be crushed because it is tired after being active.
Sometimes a mother will deliberately "sit" on a piglet as punishment -but then get up before serious damage occurs. Accidental crushing is different.
We do not know if iron deficiency is part of the problem Causing weakness and tiredness). For some unknown reason our usual iron supplement was not available (for some time). Fatima has been trying to compensate for any iron deficiency by putting extra soil in the pen, in the creep space and in the "restaurant" outside. It seems that even very young piglets eat soil.
So far we have had 66 live births in 7 farrowings: 3 piglets have died of other causes -and 13 died of crushing (20.63% ).
Notes on Crushing Prevention:
Ideally, one wishes to separate the piglets to a safe distance from their mother at all times, except for when suckling. Preferably using the natural instincts of both sow and piglets.
If one cannot actually separate sow and piglets -then the best option is to encourage the sow to lie near the creep space and encourage the piglets to enter in to it.
There are perhaps a few simple ways that might encourage safe sleeping positions:
There is a difference in heat preference between sows (who like it cool) and piglets (who like it warm). We have tried attracting piglets top the safe (creep) space by using a heat lamp. However, except in extreme cold (and wet) conditions this sems to doscourage piglets from entering the creep space. So we have turned off the lamp (which save electricity too!).Forage:
Feeding the sow forage material near the creep space -encouraging her to eat there. Materials that are attractive to piglets (and there natural curiosity) might also attract them in.Sponge Bath:
Giving a hot sow a sponge bath (with a damp cloth) near the creep space also encourages her to lay there -because the excess water cools down the earth in that area.Hole in the Wall:
However, one should be careful not to get the soil too wet -so as to chill the piglets....
We have already provided a hole in the creep space wall so the piglets can escape into an (enclosed) area outside -which we call the "restaurant" because it is used to feed piglets during weaning -so they are not competing with their mother for food at feeding time.Accidental Disincentive:
However, the "restaurant" also has a gate, which can be opened to allow access to the garden (after fencing off sensitive areas).
Obviously, piglets cannot be crushed if they are roaming in the garden. It also seems to be of great therapeutic value to weak, sick or injured piglets.
Piglets soon return home when called by their mother.
By the second or third day they have usually found their way outside
Unfortunately, when the piglets teeth were cut, this was inadvertently done near the creep space -and this may have helped discouraged the piglets from using the area.
No.Three's fourth farrowing happened mostly at night -and because we do not intervene (unless essential) we could not easily see what was happening.
However, it appears that two piglets died at, or around, the time of birth.
Paradoxically, it seems that it was the larger piglets that tended to die -and this leads us to speculate on the possibility of Iron Deficiency.
Apparently, newly born piglets quickly use up their reserves of iron -and larger piglets have smaller reserves in relation to their body size.
Until now we have given "Liquid Iron" supplements to piglest withing the first three day, by dribbling the substance onto the sow's teats while she is suckling. This seemed successful.
However, for some reason we are not able to discover --"Liquid Iron" seems to have been removed from the local market.
Fatima did provide fresh earth (a natural source of iron) in the creep space -but it might take piglets several days to discover this. She also tried dribbling another supplement both on the teats and into the earth -but this may not have been sufficient.
We are still looking at natural ways to prevent any deficiency in the piglets.
PIGLETS -June 2016
Even More Piglets