Farrowing – Being prepared Part IX

A knot of Ascaris suum recovered from the small intestine of an infected pig. Credit Photo: veterian key


Consideration should be given at this time, for treating the sow for external parasites and therefore worming her a week before she gives birth to avoid placenta crossover of womb infestation.

It is also a good idea to vaccinate against Erysipelas three weeks before farrowing and if the mother has never been vaccinated before she will need one injection six weeks prior to farrowing and a booster three weeks later.

Always speak to your vet for advice on your medication/vaccination programme.

May be an image of food and text that says "Roundworm Life Cycle Adult Worms In Large Intestine Laying Eggs Larvae Migrate Through Liver & Lungs Lungs Lungs Liver Embryonated Eggs are Consumed Ascarid egg Eggs in Feces Eggs Embryonate 12-14 Days)"
Photo: Rensselaer Swine Services, P.C.

FARROWING – Being prepared Part VIII


Embryos are not embedded until day nine of gestation and at that stage they can migrate from one horn (side of the uterus) to another, so if all embryos are lost in one horn they can migrate from the other one.

As long as there are four embryos in place, and both horns are occupied, pregnancy continues beyond ten days, otherwise it appears to be terminated. After twelve days the number of embryos may be reduced to as few as one and the pregnancy will still continue.

Litters of four or less are suggestive of embryonic death between twelve and thirty days of gestation.

Embryo at 21 days. Credit University of Edinburgh

FARROWING – Being prepared Part VII

After birth. There are two. Do not pull out allow them to expel naturally


It takes between six and eight hours from the moment the first piglet is born to the two afterbirths passing out and make sure there are two that are passed out one from each horn.

These are normally passed out between two and three hours after the birth of the last piglet is born. Do not pull them out let them pass out naturally.

FARROWING – Being prepared Part V

Oxford Sandy and Black sow enjoying some exercise and munching grass

Feeding the pregnant sow

A few days before birth monitor the food as if overfed the sow can become constipated and her gut distended. This can result in constriction of the reproductive tract, giving problems to farrowing.

Watch out for scouring (diarrhoea) as this can lead to dehydration, which can make the milk production more difficult.

Feed a little less over the three days before the birth, being careful not to totally alter the feeding routine. Exercise also prevents them from becoming too heavy and grass is a source of roughage. It is true that there is little nutrients in grass but it is an aid to their wellbeing.

FARROWING – Being prepared Part I

This month more than any other month is popular for farrowings.

Can we be prepared, what can we do to make sure that we have everything to hand. The answer is different for all of us and every farrowing is different. Although we can be prepared with the most common question, which is about milk.

Volac Faramate is a sow replacement that is specifically made for piglets. For an emergency you can use goats milk. (We have discussed the values of the various types of milk on the OSBPG Charity Facebook Forum)

Photo and provider of Sows replacement milk from Hyperdrug.co.uk

May be an image of text that says "volac FARAMATE T ACIDIFIED MILK REPLACER FOR PIGLETS"


Did you know, that within the pig field, notifiable diseases are those infectious diseases, generally not present within the national population on a day-to-day basis, which either national or EU authorities regard as undesirable for a range of reasons such as animal health and welfare, the macroeconomic position, national and international trade or human health.

Should they arise or be suspected, then they must be notified to the APHA – the animal health division of DEFRA – whereupon restrictions will be placed on the holding and possibly wider afield, with a view to controlling or eradicating the disease.

Export of animals and food produced from them is restricted. The major pig diseases that fall into this requirement are listed below, but the authorities have the right under the Animal Health Act 1981 to add diseases to this list – as indeed was done temporarily in 1991 with Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS or Blue Eared Pig Disease).

Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD)2007
Classical Swine Fever (CSF)2000
African Swine Fever (ASF)Never
Swine Vesicular Disease (SVD)1982
Aujeszky’s Disease (AD or Pseudorabies)1989
Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea (PED)Early 1990’s
Vesicular StomatitisNever
Teschen DiseaseNever
Bovine TBCurrent


Source: NADIS