Help w/ Weak Piglet

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by Tango, Oct 26, 2003.

  1. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    I picked up 13 piglets in town today- they are from three different litters. These were picked up as feeders and they are all under 10 pounds. While the facility looked to be a substantial investment, I didn't see any food around anywhere and many of the pigs seemed on the skinny side. The owner wanted to sell all the adults to me dirt cheap but I can only take piglets for now. I think he may not have been feeding regularly. The litter of 4 that I am worried about is pooping white and soft. At first it seemed like they didn't know what food was but three of them did finally eat and drink water. The smallest and of course cutest one, which will stay here as a pet if she makes it, only ate and drank a tiny amount. She is only about 4 pounds. They are all skin and bones but I am especially worried about her. She has refused all the tricks and treats I know of and I am thinking of tube feeding. I gave her an iron shot, added vit/min/electrolytes to her water and antibiotics to her food but she is eating and drinking so little that I doubt it will help. Is tube feeding worth it? Is there any other method you all use to bring back piglets from death's door. BTW, I don't see signs of illness, not even worms. What I see are emaciated piglets. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. cowgirlone

    cowgirlone Well-Known Member

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    I have had good luck feeding warm milk with scrambled eggs to weak ones. You might want to give it a try. If not, I'd try a baby bottle before I'd tube feed. Hope she recovers for you!
     

  3. milkstoolcowboy

    milkstoolcowboy Farmer

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    Several feed manufacturers sell a pig milk replacer; you might want to try that as it might have better results than warm milk. I've saved litters of pigs as young as 2 days old that had sows temporarily stop giving milk due to illness by feeding litter milk several times per day.

    Sounds like you might want to go with injection of an electrolyte solution, think about a B-vitamin injection as well.

    If pigs are coming up to drink out of pan or some sort of feeder, it's much better to have them free-choice feed as opposed to tube feeding. You can do some damage to the pig if the tube is either not flexible or goes down windpipe, etc.

    In general, I wouldn't buy feeder pigs that small (Under 10 lbs? 4 lbs?) It's doubtful that they are even two weeks old; either that or they've been malnourished.

    In terms of time and money, you might be better off just plunking that sickly little runt in the head.
     
  4. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    Thank you both for your advice. I couldn't post yesterday but since mOnday morning they have all been eating and drinking on their own now. They've gained weight and are showing signs of increased energy. All they needed was a bit of intensive appetite stimulation (iron shots and nutrical)as their systems may have been shutting down. These are snake feeders so the smaller size is more appropriate. I don't purchase anything over 15 pounds. I have been seeing a lot of wormy pigs and now these little emaciated pigs and though my heart goes out to all of them and I bring them home to help them- in a business sense I should pass on them. I can't help but think that their fate with me- where they get at least a couple of months of health and natural pig behavior outlets is better than slowly wasting away in excrement.
     
  5. What I do now with my pigs is giving them earth lumps. Yeah, red earth lumps are great. Unfortunatedly, I don't have any pics to post and show my now-adults sows grown on regular earth feed.

    My dad's iron-shot piglet aren't as good, for instance. But you must use clean soil or humus rich soil. I don't know exactly the chemical reactions, but it does more good than harm.

    HTH,
    vfs
     
  6. Just answer me: you said snake feed? Like feeding a python or anaconda on pigs???

    vfs
     
  7. milkstoolcowboy

    milkstoolcowboy Farmer

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    Many feed companies will sell what is called oral iron: a humus type mixture rich in iron and other necessary minerals that you can top dress on pellets. Little pigs love it.
     
  8. arnoldw

    arnoldw Well-Known Member

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    Tango I dont know where you are in the country. If you are near North Carolinia I like to here more about the Pigs or adults this farmer had. Not just because the lower price but if there close I like to try to buy them so they do not starve.
    Folks I not one of these bleeding heart kind of guys but I like my pigs, cows and horses and I hate to see animal suffer. I hope Im not stepping over the line by asking how close or where they are located. Thanks
    Arnold
     
  9. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    I don't think you are stepping over a line, actually I understand your feelings. I'd bring them all home if I could but my hands have been full with just these little ones. It is hard to not do anything but I've done too much in the past and frankly, I can't afford the good samaritan position everytime it opens up, though my heart takes me to that direction everytime. I doubt he has them still, if for no other reason than death by starvation, but he mentioned taking them to auction if I didn't take them. That was two weeks ago. I've given a lot of thought to this situation. I haven't been purchasing feeders for a long time but each time I come across people who aren't taking very good care of their piglets. My last batch was parasite-ridden. Seems like some people just won't spend an extra couple of bucks on their stock. It is a big issue with me because I do care for my animals at the cost of losing some of my profit. Actually I was just discussing something similar on another list today. I've decided not to purchase anyone else's piglets anymore. My own gilts are bred for the first time now and I have three more gilts I am growing out. These pigs are/were in south central Florida about a 12 hours drive from Fayetteville, NC. Another bad situation was that he had wild pigs in with domestic ones. He didn't know a sow's gestation period either- just an all around strange and depressing situation. And VFS, yes snake feed- mostly large pythons, but also anacondas.