DH shot a big mama sow last night and brought one of her babies home, the only one that didn't skeedaddle. We're guessing he's about 2-3 weeks old. We're trying to get him to take a bottle with goat's milk, but not having a lot of luck. He's hungry, but can't get the nipple figured out and it just makes him mad. Also he can't figure out how to drink out of a bowl. We have never raised a baby pig before, but if we can figure out how to feed him, we're hoping to raise him to butchering size. Any ideas?
I've never bottle-raised baby pigs, but I have plenty of other animals and I agree with the suggestion about the syringe. At least get it started with the syringe and maybe "graduate" to a bottle later.
Maybe dip a washrag in milk and let it suck on that a bit. It might figure out how to suck on the syringe if it is narrow enough, ie small enough. At three weeks old, I'd soften some food in the milk too, and offer that as well.
As an ex-pighunter, it's a pity the sow was shot in the first place. We used to let lactating or in-pig sows go on the premise that they were our future hunting.
That being said, it doesn't help your specific problem. If he's 2-3 weeks old he will have already well and truely started foraging for himself so forget trying to bottle feed him, he can survive without it despite the fact that he would have been still suckling from his mother.
Get a shallow dish (I use an old fashioned circa 1960's cocktail dish), fill it with warm milk and something like Farex or weetbix to make a runny mix, and then use brute force and shove his face into it so that he can't breath. Don't forget to bring him up again It's going to take several attempts and a lot of mess but he will get the idea. Also, don't forget that unlike a domestic piglet that has had humans in it's life from day 1, this little fellow is going to be severely nervous. When you've finished "encouraging" him to eat, put him somewhere quiet with a dish of food and water and resist the temptation to be constantly peering in at him. The chances are very high that when left to his own devices for a while his stomach and will to survive will overcome everything else and he will feed for himself.
My feral pig came to me at just about this age. I had good luck with just giving him a commercial pig food mash. I made it a chunky milk shake consistancy and put it on my fingers, slid the finger in his mouth and it was on!! He has been a spoiled brat ever since.
Don't expect it to run quite as smooth as it sounds as written. It did take a little strongarming and ear plugging the first few times!!!
I bought a few baby feral pigs from a guy with a trailer full of too young pigs. I paid $6. each for 4 of them. This was years ago.
Two made it and grew big and went in the freezer. Two died right away, I bought them out of pity anyway...didn't want them to just perish in the trailer.
They started out real real tiny though, refused bottles but would eat from a pan...they are very smart as yall know. They become pets like any pig will do. less meat than a tame breed but still very good meat.
Feral Nature Farm
LaManchas, MiniManchas and Boers
Member ADGA, MDGA
I don't know how it is in New Zealand; but sounds to me like in big portions of the US these days; there is no worry about where the next generation of feral pigs will come from. I think they are overrunning us!
In hunting regular wildlife; hunters are generally concerned about not leaving babies to fend for themselves in the wild.
But these are feral hogs; not wildlife. it may be sad; but they need to kill everyone they can.
i watched a program the other day. If it is to be believed; then there are areas of the US where feral hogs are even becoming a danger to humans.
I hope your little one is doing ok. My pet pig was only a few days old when we got her. We had to make a larger hole in the nipple of the bottle for her to eat. We added baby cereal to hold her over for more than an hour or two. Good luck. Let us know how she does.
Gardenfay, given the size of NZ, it would be fair to say that we are being overrun with wild (feral) pigs as well but much depends on who your speaking to - the farmer, the greenie or the pig hunter!
Wild pigs come out on to our farm at times and I will let pig hunting friends know that they are there if they wish to go after them. However, it is an unwritten rule that any sow that is either in pig or lactating is to be left alone. Strangely, few pig hunters are happy at taking a sow and leaving a litter to starve.
Oh, as a hunter; i agree with their feeling bad about the idea of leaving anything to starve.
Its certainly not something i was taught to do in any situation.
But i guess i would say that sometimes desparate times call for desparate measures and if i was living anywhere they were getting very bad; i wouldn't hesitate for sure to shoot a pregnant one. I might still have trouble shooting one with a very small litter; but wow they are just getting so out of hand.
Think of how hogs can and probably are annihilating ground nesting birds like turkeys, quail, pheasants. And how about cottontail rabbits. I like those things too.
And the feral hogs are the newcomer/intruders in this case.
We already have how many million songbirds killed every year by house cats - some feral; some tame.
If we dont take a hardline on these feral hogs it will be as bad or worse.
I'm a hunter, I'm green as they come, and I also own a farm. All three of my personas agree that feral hogs are all fair game. The 'farmer/homesteader' in me knows the hogs are destructive, and must go. The 'greenie' in me knows feral hogs destroy local fauna and flora (some endangered). The hunter in me knows how to take care of the hogs, and catch or kill them, and process them completely.
The hog I got several weeks ago had seven shoats with her... I knew they were old enough to survive in the wild (I've seen them once since then..... was not in a good position to shoot or harvest, so let them walk). If I could have taken some of the shoats, I would have.
I've shot sows with nursing pigs... and shot every shoat I could with my unscoped .44mag pistol.
If I have a full freezer, I'll bait several permanent hog traps. Done properly, you catch every single one, and the problem is gone for a couple months. Last year, there were 17 in my north woods. Caught 16, old boar was 'trap shy'... still see him running the woods...
To the OP's dilemma...
do you want a pet? or a pig to feed out?
If you want to feed a pig out, buy one from a breeder, and feed it out... feeding a feral pig is a waste of feed... odds are the genetics are bad and you'll end up feeding an excess of feed for a minimal amount of meat...(not economical) My uncle catches hundreds of hogs a month, raises market hogs, and raises cattle, for a living... he never feeds out feral pigs... usually gives them away when selling the boars, sows, and shoats. You could feed two tame hogs the equivalent amount you'd feed the feral, and have a lot of meat.
good luck... if I'd've shot the sow, and found the three week old pig, I'd've been in a minor dilemma... in the end I'd probably euthanized it and given it to the dogs.
I have troubles with the economic calculus of raising hogs, when there are so many wild ones that are o so tasty.... my GF still wants to raise some though!!!
Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. Seneca
Learning is not compulsory... neither is survival. W. Edwards Deming
Actually Tex, one of the best sows I ever had was a feral pig and put to a Large White boar, produced excellent piglets, large litters AND reared every last one of them herself. No runts and no interferrance on my part. I always thought there was a genetic lesson to be learnt from that.
I long ago realised that as soon as man, and especially European man, set foot in our respective countries, the wildlife, flora and fauna were doomed. I farm too, 70 acres of which about 20 acres is in regenerating native bush. 200 years ago the whole 70 acres and as far as the eye can see, would have been covered with massive Kauri, Rimu, Totara, with ferns etc as an undergrowth. Some would have been there for well over 1,000 years. It had all gone before I was born to make way for farmland. Man is the single greatest destroyer ever invented and leaves the wild pig looking like a babe in arms - and man introduced the pig.
I can't turn back the clock, I can't stop people breeding and needing ever more land and food to survive, what I can do is accept that we have made this mess and learn to compromise with it. Which is something that "greenies", at least in NZ need to learn to do as well. They complain about the pigs in the native bush but won't let pig hunters on the clean them out because they might disturb the Kiwi. Never mind that the pigs are eating the Kiwi eggs! No wonder I lose patience.
well we dont have feral hogs up here, but there are way to many deer, i'm not a hunter, these last 10 years or so, there has been a cut back on the deer hunters can shoot, only so many females are alowwed to be shot each year, to the end that now the fields are full of deer, thats all well and good, but........... when the stupid things run into my van, after i have already missed them and they turn back, .......... well i'm all for becoming a hunter, ......... as i was driving home late last wednesday night, there were some deer on the road, i slowed down, they went into the field, i drove on, one turned back and ran slap into the side of my van, that really pi**ed me off, grrrrrrrrrrrrrr, all i got was a dent in the side, and no meat, grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr again
its 5.15pm, i'm sat in my office, looking out the window, i can count 57 deer in the home field, and thats only on this side of the hill, grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr