signs of pregnancy

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by kath2003, Feb 21, 2005.

  1. kath2003

    kath2003 Well-Known Member

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    What is the best way to know if a pig is pregnant?We have three females and a male.One of the sows is alot bigger than the other two and has some larger nipples towards the back.Could she be???This is our first time with pigs and have a lot to learn.Thanks,
     
  2. Shazza

    Shazza Well-Known Member Supporter

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    When was the last time you put the boar with the sow? Whenever that was count 21 days and if she doesnt cycle again she is pregnant, if she does put them in together again. :)
     

  3. kath2003

    kath2003 Well-Known Member

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    Hi shazza,
    Well,unfortunately they have been together since November.They were 10 weeks old when I got them,now they are almost 6 months.If they were cycling would they be all swollen like a dog?
     
  4. Shazza

    Shazza Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Well yes....the smaller the pig the closer it is to the ground. What sort of pigs are they? They may be even too young to cycle....so you really need to get the boar out and into a seperate yard/paddock. Boars should be kept seperate to the sows cos as they get more pregnant the boar can hurt the babies inside cos they can be very rough with the sows. And there are horrible stories about boars eating the piglets when born. :)
     
  5. kath2003

    kath2003 Well-Known Member

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    They are white Yorkshires.Kind of tall.I think getting him out is a good idea.Then I can watch for cycling.Bt the way,what will I be watching for? LOL :confused:
     
  6. Shazza

    Shazza Well-Known Member Supporter

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    LOL back...her fanny (the opposite to what you call a fanny) will be swollen and pink, very pink....then put her in with the boar and she will scream and carry on till she accepts him. Once you see them mate...very fascinating for a first timer...leave her in and count 21 days, if she hasnt come back in to season by a week after that then put her back with the other sows. :)
     
  7. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Staff Member Supporter

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    Kathy,

    Our gilts from the same farrowing as yours had their second cycle back on February 16th through 18th. We put them in with a new boar on noon of the 16th as they were showing heat that morning. Before that we had keep them penned next to another boar which is a good test for heat and is supposed to help keep them synchronized.

    When they come into heat their vulva gets very swollen and pink, almost red. If you press on their hips they tend to arch their back and stand. That is called standing heat. At that point their ready and willing. Note that a gilt may show some or even significant bleeding in her cycle although I've only seen it once.

    Our boar from the same farrowing claims he's ready and willing. He is the same age as yours Ours complains mightily about being penned separate from the gilts. This week he's going to another farm where he'll get to see lots of gilts and one of their brothers is coming here to be our new boar.

    When the gilts breed it can be very loud, or quiet. I saw one gilt last Wednesday take the boar without a peep. They stood for a good ten minutes after. Her mama though was a real screamer the first time. Second breeding not. Can't tell how ahead of time. :)

    Given that your girls have been with your young boar all along I'll bet they're piggy. My guess is they may have taken on the first heat if you haven't seen heat signs this week. If not he probably got them on the second time around.

    The biggest way of knowing they are pregnant is that they don't come into heat again. But that actually isn't a guarantee. I had one sow who appeared to take along with her sisters but never farrowed. She also never came back into heat. She was a great baby sitter but stayed empty.

    There is one early indicator after no heats that Archie (the farmer who has supplied us with boars) taught me. He blushes and says that if they're pregnant "their little pointy thing points up." He's referring to the lower edge of the end of their vulva. It gets more pointy when they are not in heat and swollen - the hood. I suspect that as the uterus swells and drops it pulls on the vagina and thus the vulva tissue producing his observation. And what do you know, but he's right. :) I watched carefully and saw that this happened in the 2nd trimester so watch their back ends. The sow that didn't take did not show this despite never coming into heat again.

    Around the end of their second trimester they should start looking well rounded and heavy in the belly. I notice the line between the thigh and the bacon smoothing out as this happens.

    About three weeks prior to farrowing they should start bagging up and their nipples will enlarge.

    A day or two before farrowing, sometimes more, their vulvas will get large again and then they'll want to nest of their own. Provide plenty of straw or hay. Lots!

    As to timing, if they took the first time, probably in the end of January, they are now closing in on the end of their first trimester. Count three months, three weeks and three days from your guess as to when they mated and you've got your target farrowing date plus or minus a week or so. Assuming they're the same as their sisters who are here I would peg them to farrow about June 5th if I've got my math right. Of course, the pigs may use a different calendar. :) Life's not exact!

    When ours farrow I don't mess with them a whole lot. If the piglets have got access to dirt they shouldn't need any of the fancy shots for iron and vitamins or the like. I've never given them andy of the shots.

    Our sows like to have a space of their own for the week they farrow. They setup housekeeping away from their sisters. Once the piglets are a few days old they bring them out into the pastures and commingle. Within a week the sows are back to their habit of all sleeping together and the piglets are a boisterous little gang.

    By the way, we spoke before about size. I just taped most of our remaining growers in the last two days and they came out to be 170 (the smallest by barrow a long shot) to 212 (the boar). The majority of the group was 180 to 200. My guess is yours will probably similar. If they're pregnant they'll be putting on a few extra pounds. Archie and Jessie (another local pig farmer) say to be careful not to feed them too rich in the final month. They say it can result in caked tits, hard breasts, low milk production and lost litters. This fits with what I've read in the university research. Archie says he gets better litters from sows that are in good condition but not overly fat - that overly fat sows produce smaller litters and less milk. I provide pasture or hay year round so they have lots of fiber in their diet.

    BTW, I would suggest holding off any slaughter of the one for the freezer until you're sure she hasn't took because if she's in a piggy way then you'll want to get that litter and see who are the best moms. Then you can pick the worst mom and eat her saving the other two for another farrowing.

    Cheers!

    -Walter
    Sugar Mtn Farm
    in Vermont
     
  8. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Staff Member Supporter

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    Oh, one other note, I have seen a sow cycle in as little as 14 days and ours seem to average 18 days or as long as 21 days.
     
  9. Shazza

    Shazza Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Walter what a mouth full...:) you could've saved me the trouble and spoke up sooner. Besides if Kath knows you why didnt she just ring you up and ask questions..?
    I went to your website and your piggies are gorgeous..your piglets look just like my "Lucky" piglet who is a Landrace/Large white/and what ever a solid black pig is called..cross, but she is the same as yours. I actually call our free range piglets..Lean keen running machines..do you pen them before slaughter to just fatten a little, or not? I was thinking of doing it next time. So your the man...the pig man. :)
     
  10. kath2003

    kath2003 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks so much Walter!! Great info from you again.
    Shazza,I try not to keep bugging Walter with all my question,don't want to be a pain!!!
     
  11. dla

    dla Well-Known Member

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    Also our thanks to Walter for the help for another newbie family!
     
  12. luvrulz

    luvrulz Well-Known Member Supporter

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    3 gilts (sisters) and one boar. They've been all penned together since we got them just before Thanksgiving. Close as I can figure, they were born about mid-September. Correct me if I am wrong (and I hope I am...) but the gilts should have come into season mid Feb, right? We didn't notice any swollen vulvas or anything...but maybe we really didn't know excatly what we were looking at.... LOL

    Will the boar mount them and try something if the girls aren't 'ready'? He's tried but we don't know if he succeeded. 2 of the gilts are larger and weigh more than the smaller sister. She is just slower to grow I think, gets plenty to eat and fends for herself alot; but in spite of her smaller size, won't she come into cycle just like her 2 larger sisters? They have a large fenced area to root and roam in and we need to watch to see if they come into cycle again in 21 days, right? 21 days from mid-Feb.....

    Aren't they a little young to be having litters? They don't look like they weigh 200 pounds at all..... Gestation on pigs is how long? We better get to work building them a farrowing pen and figure out what's happening.

    The only way to tell if they've taken and are pregnant is to see if they come into cycle again, right? If they gain alot of weight too??

    Ah well, Mother Nature just doesn't do things on our schedule...we just aren't ready for this yet and (my husband...) thought we'd have the summer before we had to worry about this.... Sigh...... :haha:

    That's what I get for relying on his knowledge..... And thinking I knew what to look for! We jokingly call ourselves the reverse of the Beverly Hillbillies.....

    Just sign me Green Acres here in Kentucky! :eek: 2 pregnant pigs and no where to put them? I thought I was busy before......

    Thanks so much for all the tons of info on these boards! We just couldn't do it without help from these people!
     
  13. vtfarma

    vtfarma Well-Known Member

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    Okay, I have been thinking about posting on this same topic. We had a litter of piglets that we kept that was born in the 3rd week of august. We got a boar from a second farm so we could start breeding. We were figuring that the gilts would not mature quick enough to get pregnant before butchering time (Next week). About 2 months ago one of them started jumping everything in site, including me when I came in to feed and water them :confused: , obviously she must have been in heat. She was my smaller one of the bunch. I have not seen any of these three come into heat again and have decided to hold off on butchering until we see what is up. Doesn't this seem logical?

    We certainly do not need 4 litters of piglets running around. The gilt that we had for breeding went into heat on the 2/13.

    Thanks, Laurie
     
  14. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    If you want large litters do not limit the boar to a single breeding. It has been proven that additional breeding up to 3 or 4 times will generate additional piglets.
     
  15. Shazza

    Shazza Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Laurie, have all the pigs been living together?
     
  16. vtfarma

    vtfarma Well-Known Member

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    Shazza,

    The 3 gilts that we thought were too young to get pregnant and the boar have been together since October. They are all about the same age. The gilt that we wanted to breed got introduced to that pen at the beginning of February. She was in heat last weekend (I wrote it down it just slips my mind when), the littlest of the gilts (they are sisters - tried to jump me about 2 months ago, and several times since then. One of the sisters was a bit crabby too the last few months, took on our ACD - much to the dog and our suprise). The 2 bigger sisters are over 200 - Dane - the "tiny" one is probably about 180.

    Thanks for any info - Laurie
     
  17. Shazza

    Shazza Well-Known Member Supporter

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    :) Hi Laurie...If boars are the same the world over, then you would see him mounting the sows. Our Porky will keep mounting and mating the sow for as long as she lets him. Now because I am a "stay at home mum, of the 2 legged and 4 legged species", at some stage during my many trips to the laundry, will venture out the back door and be able to look across to the pig paddocks and see them mating. So, if you are at home all the time also, then you would've seen him mating. If you work or can't see the pigs from the house it would be safe to say then that he has them all pregnant :)
    I would certainly build the boar a seperate yard though. If you count 21 days from when you thought she was in season, then a few days before the 21 days start and check her back end for the signs written in previous posts. If you look for a week before the 21 days you will be able to see the difference.
    Aren't they fun.... :haha: Our Porky is so big now that I can't move him from his paddock to the girls paddock by myself....although if they are IN season he can't get there quick enough, and when it's time to come out again...after at least 3 cycles have gone by...he doesnt want to go.
     
  18. vtfarma

    vtfarma Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Shazza, Our pigs are inside during the winter - with the exception of a few times when they mastered their door and the garage door into the barn. They were romping around in the snow and having a ball. Too cold to keep them out all winter here. I am expecting that they probably are pregnant and we will proceed on our way to pig farming in a bit bigger way than we expected. We intend to make the sows and boar separate areas, this weekend the process begins. I amazes how naive I was on this. We are so busy in the winter with our heating business that neither one of us thought that they would end up pregnant or maybe just neither one of us thought! :no:

    I do love pigs and these 3 that were in with the boar are 3 that we ended up pulling off a sow with erysipelas. THey are the only surving ones of 9.

    Thanks, Laurie