What to feed your newborn piglet
We love pigs for their adorable oinks, expressive ears and big ol’ noses but we also want them to be productive members of the farm. For our piglets to do this, we must know how to give them the nutrition they need starting in their earliest stages of life.
The First Day
In the first 24 hours of your piglets’ lives, hopefully they will begin to nurse on their own. This is when they’ll acquire passive immunity from the antibodies in the sow’s colostrum. However, if the piglets are unable or unwilling to nurse, you will need to provide them with a colostrum replacer or supplement within a couple hours of birth to give them adequate nutrition in the first hours of their life.
A colostrum supplement like Sav-A-Caf® Multi-Species Colostrum Supplement is a great choice for your little piglets and should be fed within two hours of their birth if possible. Then, feed them this supplement again every three hours during the first day as this is when the newborns’ intestines are best equipped to absorb the formula’s critical nutrients.
After the first 24 hours, you can offer your new piglets milk replacer free choice. Do this twice daily for piglets who are not nursing adequately. This will be their primary source of nutrition until the weaning process begins. For an optimal blend of energy, protein, vitamins and minerals, choose a milk replacer specifically formulated to feed piglets, such as Ultra 24™ Multi-Species Milk Replacer.
Once one week has passed, begin feeding milk replacer in an open trough twice daily in a heated, covered area instead of by bottle. Be careful to clean and sanitize the trough thoroughly between every feeding.
Start introducing creep feed and fresh water into your piglets’ diet when they are between two and three weeks old to get them used to eating solid feed prior to initiating the weaning process. For this stage, self-feeders are recommended over pan or floor feeding. Ensure your piglets’ feed is in an area inaccessible to the sow. Lastly, keep clean, fresh water available at all times to encourage your piglets to stay hydrated.
By four weeks, piglets typically reach about 14 lbs. However, weaning may begin when piglets are at least 8-10 lbs as long as they are consuming feed and water regularly. This time can be stressful for piglets, so it is best to keep them in their same surroundings with at least some of their littermates to ease the transition.
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