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Pre-Farrowing question

nikkisnagfarmnikkisnagfarm Junior Member
edited January 2010 in General Pig Health
I have a duroc that is due to farrow around January 25th. My question is, what should I be doing for her prior to farrowing? Is there any injections that are a MUST? She is in her new barn now, so she is out of our drafty "summer" barn. I live in north-central Michigan, so it's fairly cold right now (about 20-30 degrees F during the day and 0-10F at night). The barn has been staying a good 40F right now. I plan on setting up some sort of place off to the corner with a heat lamp for the piglets too.

Any words or wisdom would be appreciated :-)

Comments

  • nicksdigsnicksdigs Senior Member
    edited December 2009
    I have a duroc that is due to farrow around January 25th. My question is, what should I be doing for her prior to farrowing? Is there any injections that are a MUST? She is in her new barn now, so she is out of our drafty "summer" barn. I live in north-central Michigan, so it's fairly cold right now (about 20-30 degrees F during the day and 0-10F at night). The barn has been staying a good 40F right now. I plan on setting up some sort of place off to the corner with a heat lamp for the piglets too.

    Any words or wisdom would be appreciated :-)
    Hello nikkisnagfarm,
    Our farm is in upstate NY so we have cooler weather but you have us beat. We now farrow in outside huts that are insulated--walls and ceilings--just a double plank foor with a wind barrier with lots of second cutting hay because it's shorter stemmed-less chance of strangling-and it's softer. The huts have a 2' x 3' door opening with canvas or old rug strips to allow sows and piglets outside but keep wind out and heat in--we install an 8 inch board for the first week to keep piglets in then remove. We don't use heat lamps as the sows body heat keeps hut above 55 F--a must or use heat lamps. Our huts are 7' x 9' with 5' ceilings.
    How big is her pen? A 12' x 12' area is plenty. With two bales of second cutting in a corner for a nest. Can you put in a lower false ceiling to help her maintain heat? Maybe cover false ceiling with hay for insulation factor? Can you stack hay around her pen to help her maintain heat? Protect from drafts which is a big piglet and pig killer. When you install heat lamp make sure secure and that the sow cannot get to it, and keep high enough off hay to prevent fires. A neighbor lost his barn six sows and their litters due to a heat lamp thats why we spendt the money to insulate the huts.
    Keep lots of fresh water for her and maybe change her ration a day or two prefarrow to 1/2 wheat grem to soften her stools to ease farrowing.
    Check your private messages
    Good Luck nicksdigs
  • nikkisnagfarmnikkisnagfarm Junior Member
    edited December 2009
    THanks for the info. The barn is just freshly put up and very well insulated. her pen is 12x8 with a ritchie pig waterer in a corner. I put straw in her pen for her to make a nest in (she's very good at it). I do think we will be putting up a plywood board with a lamp across the corner for the piglets to go to. Right now they will not be able to go outside until spring (when we get that made).

    I'll have to get some bran from my feed mill to make a mash for her. That's what they do for horses too.

    What do you do for the gilt/sow prior to forrowing for shots?
  • BlueButtBlueButt Senior Member
    edited January 2010
    Why can your pigs and piglets not go out till next spring? Do you have lots of snow that keeps them in. What about the air flow necessary to keep unwanted scours away?
  • nicksdigsnicksdigs Senior Member
    edited January 2010
    We don't give our sows any shots before farrowing and seem to have good luck [ knock, knock on wood]. Stevie G and others may have other thoughts on this but thats what works for us. Although we have had to cull two sows over the years that had bad first litters and/or were bad mothers. The sows we have now 16 total--12 are proven mothers the other 4 are first time make or break ones. We are averaging 19-20 piglets per sow with only two litters in 12-14 months as we wean at seven weeks and sometimes build the sow back up for a month or two. Our thoughts are we can get 4-6 years out of a sow and save on replacement gilts. But thats just us. So long as we turn a little profit and pay for all the feed and hay for the 100 chickens, 12 ducks, 2 goats, 2 horses and the pigs with us taking 5-6 butcher hogs for the family a year we are happy.
    Pen size sounds good. Again please make sure heat lamp secure and high enough to prevent fire. Do you have access to a dairy farm where you might get their milk that they cannot ship? A gallon or two of this per day for the sow and later the piglets does wonders but might give sow the runs at first but the benifits are worth it. I don't know your waterer so make sure piglets can access water in the first week and feed by the end of the second week. We just use grower and meal but it has been recommended that we use a starter or creep feed I believe.
    We do not give our piglets iron or penicillan shots and seem to do great but lots of piggers do so your choice on that. If you choose to do so in the first 24-48 hours. The iron can be given orally or so I've been told.
    I don't know how long you have dealt with pigs but a word of caution a sow with piglets or even farrowing [she might be in pain] can be a lethal weapon. Never enter her pen without a shovel, fork or better yet a pig board for protection and have an escape route.
    Hope some of this helps and others will advise too. Good Luck and keep us posted.
    nicksdigs
  • Stevie GStevie G Super Moderator
    edited January 2010
    I think Nicksdigs if you don't have scour problems then your a lucky person, especially as you don't vaccinate/feedback(porcol 5 against ecoli scour),or give Erysorb against Swine Erysipelis(can cause reabsorbtion/abortions, but is easily treated with penicilin etc., if caught early). These two would be the main ones, and/or a Smedi/PRRS vaccine? What is known as "flying by the seat of your pants", but if you don't have problems then its probably not a worry. Just remember prevention is better/cheaper than cure!
    As for sow accomodation for inside the shed, sit 3 bales on there end(D 1000's) and put tin or plywood over the top,(with a bale/s on top), so that the roof stays on top, and farrow your sow in that. Bed it nicely with straw. Lamps and straw are not a good mix, as you need to stop the sow having contact with the lamp and pulling it down, so causing a fire or electricution. Normally a piglet box is built, and a lamp is placed on top, after a hole is cut in it. The sow would be in a crate, so she has no access to the lamp. Lamp/s are hung behind her, mats(hession sacks)are also put behind her to stop draughts inorder to keep the piglets from getting cold. Unfortunately you don't have the indoor setup, so bales and a roof are your better option. Or you could hang a lamp on a chain, but make sure the sow cant reach it in anyway.
    Creep contains fish meal, milk powder, wheat, etc and is high in good quality protein(22%). Pigtets can only digest good quality protein at this stage in their life as their digestive system only produces certain enzymes, so only allowing them to digest certain ingredients. Anything that is not digested is wasted and these products are passed out in its poo. They have the potential too possibly make a pig scour, and because these ingredients are not utilised it is also a waste of money. Faster growth means cheaper costs. Which means more money in your pocket( and some would say poorer taste?) Feed to your market is what I say.
    And yes, sows with piglets become very cranky, so let the intruder BEWARE. A pig board at all times for your own safety, or a "fast pair of legs". The board is safer.
  • nikkisnagfarmnikkisnagfarm Junior Member
    edited January 2010
    Blue Butt - they are not able to go outside because it is a new barn and the outside pens won't be done until spring. Also, it has been getting very cold here. Even -4 with windchill during the day and as cold at night. The barn has 3 windows for veintilation, but doesn't seem to need it and a 16' x 7' garage door in the front. So, i'm guessing there's plenty of air leaking to suffice.

    nicksdigs and stevie G - thanks for the caution...i can see where a person could easliy get really hurt. We also use the ritchie waterers because they use geothermal heat and that means i don't have to chip ice!!! ;-)

    I have not done any injections yet and was worried I should be.
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