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Old 09/24/09, 11:14 AM
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: MO
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New litter...sow has no milk....HELP

I wanted to post this two days ago but....

The late afternoon/evening of the 22nd our sow farrowed. She did not nest, had no milk (although she was starting to look like she would any day), and showed no interest at all in the piglets who she just dropped throughout her large pen. We had been expecting her to farrow very soon but had not moved her yet because we were waiting for her to show signs she was actually getting ready, like bagging up. She had raised other litters with no problems (has even adopted piglets that weren't hers) and is healthy, good weight, not thin.

When we found her 1/2 dead piglets, there were 13. One was already dead, and one more that was barely breathing. We took the other 11 back to the house and washed them up, warmed them, and syringe fed them some colostrum from our cows. At about 6 hours from the time we found them, they were warmed well and sucking from a bottle with a lamb nipple. I have been bottle feeding them every 2.5 to 3 hours. The next morning we went out to find that she had two more during the night (for a total of 15), one of which was dead and the other was in pretty sad shape. She had made a pitiful attempt at nesting but still had no milk. We tried to give her the piglet that was still alive but she just smelled it and turned away. It had been in the low 60's upper 50's here at night.

They were all doing well until the 3 am feeding this morning, one was breaths away from being dead and it had been OK at the last feeding although not as aggressive as some of the others. Then at the next feeding another was in the same condition and dead by the time I had finished feeding the others. I noticed with both of these piglets that they had not been as feisty but still ate at the previous feeding. I am letting them eat all I can get them to eat at each feeding.

I am not sure about every single one, but they are pooping and peeing and seem to be getting enough to eat and staying warm. They don't scream unless I come near their box, I think that they can smell that it is me and associate me with food. When I come within 5 feet, they start freaking out.

Can you give me any tips on what else I can be doing? I want to get them drinking out of a pan in the next few days, which I have read is possible. I also want to move them outside into a pen with a heat lamp because they are really starting to smell.

TIA,

Rachel

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  #2  
Old 09/24/09, 12:57 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: South Carolina
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I have heard that giving an injection of Oxytocin will stimulate milk let down, as well as cleaning out anything left behind in the uterus. You would probably need to get this from your vet.

I have also heard that, providing the sow is cooperative, that you can scrub in and run your hand up inside her, and that is supposed to stimulate milk let down. The problem is, I don't see many sows being cooperative for this.

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Old 09/24/09, 02:15 PM
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: MO
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Well, this afternoon her milk was in and we just took the piglets back out to see how she would react. Of course, I had just gotten done feeding them so they weren't hungry. And they think I'm their momma so they don't squeal when I pick them up because they are used to it. We have her in a very small pen right now until we know she will care for them.

We showed her one and she didn't freak out and was talking to it, etc...so we put the rest in there. She keeps checking on them all and smelling them. I am going to keep a close eye and make sure she will actually feed them.

Does anyone know why she would have been so weird the day she had them? It did storm the night before but it wasn't severe or anything.

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  #4  
Old 09/24/09, 08:07 PM
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: MO
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She was more than willing to nurse the piglets but they have no idea what they are doing. They are conditioned to me, I guess. If I go out there, they are rooting around my ankles instead of trying to nurse on the sow.

I really want them to just go back to her. Is there anything I can do at this point? I thought about trying putting cows milk on her teats since that is what they have been eating.

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  #5  
Old 09/24/09, 08:37 PM
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Southern Tier NY.
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You can try to put milk on her teets & continue to try to get them feeding, they will catch on if you are persistent with it & do not give them any more bottles, this can be very tricky as they cannot really afford to miss any feedings at all. but stay with it & keep putting them on & they will get it after a few good tries.
good luck & keep us posted with the results.

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Old 09/24/09, 11:31 PM
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: MO
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My problem comes in that she is not real crazy about us being around. She doesn't mind me standing there even just a foot away but as soon as any of the piglets make any noise, she sits up. And I am 6 months pregnant with twins and can't exactly get away fast. My nephew was helping earlier today and got a few to latch on for a bit but they couldn't just find a teet on their own and wouldn't stay latched on for more than a few seconds. There wasn't instant gratification like the bottle.

We had to take them away for the night because they had not eaten for about 6 hours and it was getting dark and I couldn't just let them go down hill overnight. I am going to take them back in the morning at their first after daylight feeding so they are good and hungry and try again.

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  #7  
Old 09/25/09, 02:01 PM
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Location: Texas
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We just had to totally raise 7 piglets when my lovely Lily Pig died from a ruptured uterus while farrowing. They were lucky that they got the colostrum in them. I started feeding them the next day with a childs medicine droppper. I did that for only a day before I needed bottles. After a week they started drinking from a pan. I did that for three weeks three times a day. I always put pellets in with my piglets at one week so they had those too. At four weeks I "weaned" them. Now at seven weeks they still go crazy when they hear me come into the barn lot. But I do love my pigs. :1pig: Good luck.

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Old 09/27/09, 08:16 AM
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Does anyone know why it took so long for this sows milk to come in?

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  #9  
Old 09/27/09, 09:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matt_man View Post
I am going to take them back in the morning at their first after daylight feeding so they are good and hungry and try again.

How's the litte piggies, and how many do you have left?
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  #10  
Old 09/27/09, 06:18 PM
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: MO
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We still have 9, one doesn't look real good at all and another is kinda iffy. The are eating well, going to the bathroom, etc...

I have 7 of them drinking from a pan now and one of the sickly ones does drink from it but he doesn't really walk/run around. He was so much bigger than the others and has never really been very mobile from the start. He likes to eat and then sleep, but he eats very vigorously. He did used to move around more but the last time we tried putting some with momma, I wonder if he got injured in some way; stepped on??

It is the same with the other sickly one; she hasn't been the same since we brought them back from momma the second time; not right away of course but later that day. She was the spunkiest one but then was just OK, and now has gone down hill.

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http://www.jerseyknoll.com

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  #11  
Old 10/04/09, 06:58 PM
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Update?

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  #12  
Old 10/12/09, 02:24 AM
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Waller, Texas
Posts: 80

Matt,
I hope your piglets are still doing okay. If the sow's milk didn't come in, usually it means she had low calcium in late gestation, likely because she had so many. It's a good idea to feed more green, leafy vegetation (mustard, collards, spinach, or turnip greens) and egg shells or offer a calcium supplement (within reason) in the last month. That will help to insure good milk production.
If your piglets didn't get any colostrum, you can give raw egg yolk in their milk for a few days, or get Save-A-Calf Electrolytes Plus to help them populate their stomach and intestines with the proper bacterial cultures. Yogurt only has acidophalus, but they also need B-thermopophylus and others for proper digestive function. That is one reason animals that don't get colostrum die. It isn't just antibodies.
Probiotics are actually obtained by nursing animals from the outside of the nipples, not from the milk. In too clean an environment, and without having nursed to get the first milk, the animals don't get the natural population of flora and fauna in the digestive system. You can give them all of that with raw egg yolk and Electrolytes Plus.
I hope they do okay for you. Good luck and let us know how they are doing now.

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