Piglet Observation – Part IV

Photo: Lydia Johnston

Cross- Fostering

When dealing with large litters and you have simultaneous farrowings, there may be an opportunity to implement a fostering procedure, transferring your Oxford Sandy and Black piglets from a larger farrowing to a smaller farrowing. This practice can be of benefit as well as ensuring the welfare of sow and piglets which begins with careful observation of the piglets.

Identify those piglets that show signs of lethargy and lacklustre. These observations will serve as indicators for taking action, possibly including the decision to foster the struggling piglet and at the same time provide essential sustenance such as electrolytes or additional milk.

Cross-fostering your low birth weight Oxford Sandy and Black piglets with littermates of similar weight can significantly improve their daily weight and overall health with the added bonus of high expectations for pre-weaning performance.

We are aware that smaller piglets competing with their larger siblings are at a disadvantage. Therefore, whenever possible, it is advisable to create foster litters consisting of the smallest piglets born on a given farrowing day. It is essential to introduce these small piglets to a sow that is in her early stages of motherhood, preferably on her first or second litter. Sows in their second year, for instance, tend to have smaller teats that are better suited for the small mouths of these piglets. This thoughtful approach can greatly benefit the piglets’ growth and overall well-being of the Oxford Sandy and Black Pig.

You might discover our blog titled “Piglet/Weaner – Being Prepared” to be a valuable resource for additional guidance and assistance.

The Oxford Sandy and Black Pig Group is UK’s only pig breed that is a registered charity in England & Wales (1190469) and Scotland (SCO52662). We are creating a better future for our breed, the bloodlines and its breeding potential together with our Independent Pork Producers, Breeders and Keepers. Please consider clicking our donate button so we may continue to look after our breed and our supporters.

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