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Author Topic: Farrowing advice  (Read 2377 times)


  • Joined Jul 2013
Farrowing advice
« on: June 22, 2017, 11:50:27 am »

I have now got to the point where I have three sows. My original girl (Mirtha) farrowed a cpl weeks ago and next due is her daughter (Penelope) and after that will be Gigi my pure pietrain. They had all been living together but we separated the Mirtha so she could farrow alone in peace, we will do the same for the others when the time comes, but my question is, when can I put them back together? Can they all run around together or do I need to keep them apart until weaning? Ideally I would let all the mums out into the field together.... Any thoughts? I should say that they have a strict pecking order and everyone have been living very happily together. I only separated to give the mum privacy and a nice big nest etc as I am in the southern hemisphere and its been frrrreezing!

Thanks  :pig:

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Farrowing advice
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2017, 02:59:13 pm »
Keep each sow and its piglets separate.  Hormones will be running wild and a perfectly charming sow will turn into a highly protective murderess far faster than you can scoop up a piglet that's just got in the way.


  • Joined Jan 2015
  • Carlisle
Re: Farrowing advice
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2017, 04:15:03 pm »
They may be nice and quiet, but as soon as they have piglets they will become extremely protective, and will attack anything they perceive to be a threat, including other piglets, other sow's and YOU. So it will be much easier for both you and them, if they were to be housed seperately until they have weaned.


  • Joined Jul 2013
Re: Farrowing advice
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2017, 07:09:13 pm »

I thought that might be the case, thanks for the replies! I will keep them separate. Mirtha has always been friendly with us when she had piglets but I can quite see she could well attack another pig!



  • Joined May 2015
Re: Farrowing advice
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2017, 07:11:45 pm »
You know your pigs better than anyone. There is nothing wrong with putting them together before weaning if you introduce them the right way and give them the option to have their own space.
The piglets will actually suckle off the different sows, not only there mother
This is natural behaviour and something you should encourage. Wild pigs live in large groups and do exactly this.


  • Joined May 2015
Re: Farrowing advice
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2017, 07:13:56 pm »
I believe those other replies to be wrong but, as I said, you will know your pigs better than anyone.


  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Farrowing advice
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2017, 07:42:48 pm »
The "easy" option whilst the sow has piglets is to keep the sow and piglets separate from one another. However, it is possible to run sows and litters together. I wouldn't do it until the piglets are well established on the sow and old enough to get out of the way. So, probably around three weeks of age and in a field large enough for the sows to have their own space.

I wouldn't put sows together that didn't know each other previously.

The vast majority of sows I have had, which are mostly traditional breeds but I do have a large white too have happily suckled each others piglets. In my farrowing shed for the first week I make sure piglets can not escape through the gate but after that they "escape" until they are too fat to do so. They play together, sleep together and cross suckle. I have only had one sow that would not tolerate someone elses piglets.

In the wild sows would seek out somewhere private to farrow but then after that they run as a herd. It is often our own perceptions and concerns that get in the way of allowing a more natural approach to our pig management.

Yes, sows are protective but they don't generally go out of their way to attack. Only when they feel their litters are threatened.

At the end of the day you must do what you feel comfortable with.

My past experience (when I felt sows and litters were best kept on their own) was that at weaning sows that previously lived together fought.


  • Joined May 2015
Re: Farrowing advice
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2017, 08:05:36 pm »
I agree #harmony!
In fact that is exactly what I think ( and wrote above)
It's difficult on here when someone is looking for advice and then get these hard and fast posts telling them exactly what they should not do.
I think it important that these pieces of advice are only observed asone persons advice and may not apply to you at all.
Spend time with your pigs, get to know them and let them behave naturally would be my advice but hey, I might be wrong too!


  • Joined Jul 2014
Re: Farrowing advice
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2017, 04:16:38 pm »
Indeed it is tricky, i have farrowed sisters together both successfully and almost disastrously. Although not due to sow behaviour.
I will now be more hesistant in future, but know that it can work well


  • Joined Jul 2013
Re: Farrowing advice
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2017, 04:38:33 pm »

So in the end the girls farrowed separately and then once the piglets were strong enough I let everyone have access to the same paddock and so far so good! They seem to share nursing and everyone is happy... the only rule is that they each have their own house and they do not share that space!

Thanks all! Its lovely to see the piglets all hang out and having so much fun!

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Farrowing advice
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2017, 07:56:24 pm »
All generally goes well with piglets until one of them screams, for whatever reason.  Could be frustration at not being able to get to a teat, having its toes trodden on by Mama, etc.  She will then turn on the most likely cause of the problem - YOU.  Don't forget those teeth are strong enough to make dents in the business end of a spade.


  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Farrowing advice
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2017, 08:29:35 pm »
Brilliant news.  :excited: 

In the unlikely event a sow attacks you at least you could hide behind one of the others  :relief:

Seriously, it is unlikely a sow will attack you but always watch your back. That goes whether your pigs are housed or not, kept separate or in a group. That is what boards are for.

Also if you go round worrying you are going to be attacked then you will make your animals nervous.

Stick to the three C's - calm, confident and careful!


  • Joined Jul 2013
Re: Farrowing advice
« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2017, 09:30:08 pm »
Yes, always extra vigilant when piglets are about! They are lovely girls with mild characters but I definitely do not trust a momma pig when a baby squeals haha

Thanks guys!


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