Ive just put our sow out to pasture having her first litter. She was in the shed with water and food and comfort for about 6 weeks. She seemed happy enough to go out. Even followed me out there. But now after an hour or so she wont move. She seems to be lame. She doesnt want to get up. If i push her to get up she squeals. If i touch her she squeals. I dont know what Ive done. She isnt hot to touch...she seems to be breathing as though she is stressed out. She had a feed and a drink when she went out...walked around for a bit and then sort of just dropped and thats it. Is it because she was in the confines of indoors for the 6 weeks and how its all to much for her..or is she sick...we dont have a vet here close and quite honestly I cant afford one...so any advice would be accepted with much gratitude.... HELP...
Heat stroke? I'd hose her down and see if it changes anything.
posted 7 years ago
Hi again....I just read my post and I noticed it was a little vague...I should have written that we had put her out at 6 week mark after having her litter. Her babies are fine and doing very well. I did ring a vet, who told me that it was probably mastitis. Anyways to cut a long story short...I went this morning got some penicillin and anti inflams injected her....she seems to buck up and was trying to get up but alas it seems we must have been too late with the meds. She went to piggy heaven at sometime between 3 and 5pm.....I am totally devastated...thats 12 months of nuturing right down the toilet. I have injected the other 2 sows just in case...I myself am not really sure that it was mastitis. I have never seen in any animal a drop so quickly. I have obviously missed some research somewhere along the line. I will be reading up again to see where I may have went wrong. Its a real kick in the guts...but someone did once say to me ... on a farm where there is life there is death...still with that thought in my mind I cant help but feel like a failure. Maybe I should quit while I am ahead and not pour any more money into this venture. thanks for your replies...they are appreciated.
Don't give up. It sounds to me like a freak accident. The only thing you could have done to prevent it (if it was mastitis) is to wean the piglets later, like 8 - 10 weeks. I've seen references to earlier weaning leading toward mastitis.
On the other hand, resistance to mastitis is at least partially hereditable, so removing an animal from your breeding stock (as unfortunate as it was) that gets it is actually good animal husbandry and ensures more problem-free breeding stock in the future. Pigs have had to endure so much the last century as far as adapting to confinement operations and less and less ability to use their natural instincts, that these days some pigs we want to pasture and raise naturally have lost too much and can't perform well. Not that we should give up, but we should be breeding for the traits that fit what we want to do with them, i.e. root/graze, have uncomplicated births, be able to live in a herd, etc.
If you read Joel Salatin's work, he's in favor of stopping worming and medications just so you can see which animals are naturally resistant and then culling very hard to make sure those traits wind up in your offspring. Anything less will lead to more trouble down the road. Of course, if it's a pet and you have an emotional attachment things may be different, but then you need to give good thought to whether you should be breeding some animals or just keeping them for your personal enjoyment (and pigs can make fine plows, cleaning crews, agritourism attractions, etc.).
I keep adding to my pig herd, and now that the numbers are up (to 7 - 3 adults and 4 weanlings), I'm surprised to see how well they enjoy each other's company (they all sleep in a big pig pile, and pushing at mealtime has stopped). It's a delight to watch animals living closer to what their natural instincts are, and the thought that our pork will come from these happy animals instead of ones confined to crates in stinky buildings being fed agricultural waste mechanically delivered to a trough is enough for me to keep going.
posted 7 years ago
TY so much Renate for your kind words. I was born a city girl and lived that way for over 35 years. We have been "farming" 10 years now...and to say we have seen some heartbreak would be an understatement. With that we have also had some very very funny and hilarious situations as well. Our dream was to be self sufficient as much as possible and as the book you mentioned not fill our animals full of chemicals and poisons. We have finally succeeded with our cattle and I am happy to say we now have 10 head that are all medicine and chemical free. We also have about 20 sheep in the same boat and all our poultry is born and bred on the farm naturally and not filled full of poultry pellets. The pigs were the natural progression in our scheme and we started with 3 lovely sisters (One a little on the fiesty side) and 2 beastie boys (At least thats what they like to think). I was so astonished how they took together as a family right from the word go. They were 10 weeks old when we bought them. They are such an intelligent animal. I kept them in the paddocks for 12 months before even trying to breed them, which allowed me to read and read and read and pick peoples brains for all the information i could get. Finally the time came and they took on the first go. When it was time to for them to farrow I brought them indoors as the summers here in my corner of Aus can be ghastly and I didnt want them to be put under any undue stress. Out of the 3 sisters I got 21 live piglets...13 boys and 8 girls. OMG how gorgeous they are...In hindsight now I can see that I was probably paying more attention to the piglets than I was there mothers. I was focussed on the prize so to speak. Because the babes were feeding and growing in leaps and bounds I wasnt looking as close as I should have been to the mother. Poor sweetheart she was. With hindsight and 20/20 visions I can now remember the signs. She was drinking so much more than usual. I put that down to the piglets drinking it and the abnormally hot weather we have been having, but now im pretty sure it was her.She must have been feverish poor thing. When the babes would feed she was restless and would only let them feed a little at a time. In my defence I did check her teets on regular basis and there were no obvious signs of abnormality. Yesterday I did notice that her skin under all that black hair had a purple sort of tinge to it. When I explained this to the vet she said it was definitely masitis and she had become infectious... I new then I had left it too late. The other 2 of the sisters seem a little listless today but as i said i have injected them just incase (the vet thought this a good idea) and some of that depression will be for the loss of their sister. They actually cried along side me if you can believe that. Now, having said all of this, dont get me wrong im not a right winged greenie...just your average mum looking for a way to put better food on the table and look after her own kids...so all of this not only has to supply my family with sustenance but be viable and pay for itself and turn a bit of a profit so I can atleast afford a new pair of undies every so often...LOL. This has been a great shock to me and really has not only hurt my pride and purse but it has definitely rocked my confidence. I will learn from my mistake and hopefully wont make it again. I will be taking smaller steps next time too. Stagger the breeding so I can pay individual attention to each mother and babes properly.
Location: zone 6b
posted 7 years ago
I think most people don't expect mastitis in a pig, it's not something we're told to look for. Totally not your fault. Don't blame yourself!
Are you giving them free-choice kelp? Iodine kills mycoplasma, one of the infectious agents responsible for mastitis. Also a good mineral balance will help prevent health problems.
I probably would have knocked up lots of water-drinking to the heat and feeding piglets too. And they can be so rough on the moms that as they get bigger if she's reluctant to feed them that wouldn't be a surprise either. I don't think you really missed any obvious signs, it was just a freak accident that she got it. But now that you are aware, I bet you'll notice it if it ever happens again!
posted 7 years ago
Might also look into fermenting their feed...the natural probiotics provided by the lactic acid produced by fermentation is known to prevent mastitis in pigs. Dairy owners are now using mother vinegar for their cows to prevent mastitis as well.
Our Pig Princess Leia had a something very similar to this happen. She found a an old hutch to lay under and refused to move, she didn't eat or drink. We dragged her out and forced her into the barn, then fed her pig swig and orchard hay. With our pig it seemed to be a mix of worms and constipation. Really after he had munch on the hay she started acting more like her old piggy self again.