General Question

MooCows's avatar

What can I do about a Sow that is eating her new baby pigs?

Asked by MooCows (3195points) March 3rd, 2016

Our momma Sow had 14 baby pigs Sunday night
and once we saw that 3 were gone we figured
out that she was “eating them”. This is her second litter.
When we separate her from them she tries to tear
the door down to get to them. We cannot hand feed
these pure bred registered pigs. Has anyone heard of this
and what are our options?

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7 Answers

Strauss's avatar

I grew up in a rural area in Illinois (some 50+ years ago, before “factory farming” was the norm) and I have heard of this. It’s called savaging.

I did a little research when I saw your q, and I found this article to shed some light on the behavior.

I also came across some interesting non-cited info in this Wikipedia article. It cites anecdotal evidence that sanitary conditions and a comfortable environment can reduce the occurrence of cannabilastic savaging.

Is there another sow available who can nurse the survivors? I might be wrong, but I don’t think nursing them with a sow from another breed will affect their purebred status, as long as a healthy diet is provided.

Coloma's avatar

@MooCows Yes, I can;t add anything to @Yetanotheruser ‘s sharings. You may need to find a nursing crate for her and make sure her conditions are clean, comfortable and and you can also ask your vet about sedatives to keep her in a more passive state that will not be passed onto the piglets. A surrogate mom is an option as well. You can also purcahse a milk replacement formula to bottle feed with.

PigletGro is one I found. Talk to your local ranch vet asap.

MooCows's avatar

We contacted vets and one said a mineral supplement might help as
she may be missing something in her diet. Another said feed her
peanut butter sandwiches and keep her away from her babies for
12 hours. She is gentle with her babies and with us when we are in the stall.
Her stall is way over sanitary its a “Hog Hotel” so that is not the problem.
She is in a passive state until you separate her from her babies…..she is
eating the smallest ones and one vet said she might think she cannot milk
14 so she is weeding out the troops. She now has a mineral she eats and
plenty of peanut butter but we kept her with the babies because she would have
torn down the stall door to get to them…so we will see in the morning.
Thank you for all the great answers.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Strauss's avatar

@MooCows Yes, please keep us posted.

MooCows's avatar

This morning was GREAT!
No piggies missing…so hopefully we are over the
bad part of this mystery.

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