How to create a suitable space for your piglets
Housing, just like nutritional needs, is a large part of a piglet’s well-being. It takes a bit of preparation to ensure your piglets have a secure space to grow and develop. Consider these housing tips before your babies arrive for optimal comfort.
Keep Them Protected
Your newborn piglets should have a clean, warm space away from the sow with a thick layer of bedding. You want to keep them away from the sow, because one of the greatest dangers to a newborn piglet is being accidentally suffocated or crushed by their mother.
This is why many animal owners choose to use farrowing crates for newborn piglets to stay separated from the sow but still able to nurse. Farrowing crates will also help keep the piglets dry and let waste drop away. Straw or shavings make the best bedding material and can provide extra warmth. Sawdust is not recommended.
Keep Them Warm
During the first week, newborn piglets will need an ambient temperature of about 95 degrees Fahrenheit measured at the piglets’ height. To get this controlled temperature, use an overhead heater, heat lamp or heated mat. Each week, piglets will gain a little more ability to regulate their body temperature, so you can lower the temperature by 5 degrees each week.
Keep their space ventilated
Another way to keep piglets warm is to prevent direct drafts while ensuring adequate ventilation. Proper ventilation is critical to prevent the buildup of moisture, animal odors and gasses that can cause respiratory illnesses like pneumonia.
If you can smell ammonia in the stall, or if you see condensation on the walls or ceiling, it may be a sign that your barn does not have adequate ventilation for your newborn piglets. To fix this problem, install windows, fans and inlets around the ceiling perimeter prior to the birth of your pigs to allow fresh, cold air from the outside to mix with the warm air before coming into contact with the newborns.
These housing tips, combined with a strong nutritional routine, will help safeguard your new piglets and provide them with the resources they need to grow into healthy members of the farm.
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