Our black and white sow ‘Tippex’ gave birth to eleven piglets just over 3 weeks ago. We have been really impressed with the piglets that she has produced in this litter, all 11 micro piglets are fit, healthy and strong. I personally do not believe there is a runt in this litter, even now-3 weeks later-all the piglets are of equal size, height, and health.
How we did this
Firstly, you need a decent set of parent to produce good quality micro piglets like our own. Secondly, you need to prepare the sow a few weeks before she is due to give birth. Lastly, you need to make sure the birth goes well by providing the pig with the correct and best environment when she gives birth.
All our parent stock come from Rob Rose in Cumbria. We are trusted breeder who works closely with Rob to maintain his quality and stockmanship. Robs been breeding miniature pigs and pet pigs for over 15 years and has some of the oldest bloodlines in world for these types of pig. The longer the bloodlines of the animal the better chance you have in producing good quality litters and piglets. Both parents of this litter were bought from Rob Rose within the last three years. Tippex the sow is around 2 years of age, and our boar Murphy is approx 4 years old. Both parent are fully grown so we have a good clear idea of the size that these piglets are going to reach when they are fully mature. They both adorable and friendly pigs, and have lovely placid nature, which we believe they pass onto their young.
Preparation for a litter of micro pigs on our farm begins a few week before they sow is due to give birth. We bring the sow inside and isolate her to a room in our barn. Due to the pig not having access to grass we double her daily food ration. We also provide her with a secret mix of natural additives and ingredients that we mix into her food. Our secret diet has a fantastic effect on the pig, by the time she is ready to give birth, the sow is in superb shape, and their coat shines with a healthy look. Doing all this means that the sow is in the best shape possible to give birth.
Before the birth
Our sows are left to farrow naturally, we do not use farrowing crates as we believe these to be cruel and unnatural. The sow usually starts farrowing 24-48 hours before giving birth. There is usually a change in their behaviour and they will start move there bedding straw into a particular place to build a nest. Tippex was no exception, she started farrowing approx 24 hours before she started to give birth. This meant that it was now time to install our heat lamps, and also the time to isolate her nest with a small 100mm high fence. The small fence is provided to prevent any new born piglets from crawling onto the cold concrete floor beyond her nest. If the piglets crawl onto the concrete floor there is a good chance that they will catch hypothermia and die, so we have eliminate and reduce this risk. Once this is done its then up to nature to take its coarse and the waiting game begins.
Tippex started giving birth around 3pm in the afternoon. All the piglets were born by 7pm. We couldn’t believe how quickly she had spat them out. Pigs can be in labour anything up to 24 hours, so our girl Tippex performed exceptionally well giving birth to all 11 piglets in just over 4 hours. It was a very easy birth for her.
The first 48 hours of piglets life is the most critical. During this period we regularly inspect the piglets to make sure there are no weak or sick animals, and also to make sure that none of them are suffering from scour. None of these piglets became ill or started to scour, in fact by the 48 hour mark they were starting to stomp around and all looked really healthy.
We shot the following two videos of this litter one week after they were born.