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What is best for my new piglet?

 
Savannah Wallace
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I have recently adopted a piglet, I have done much research on how to care for my pig, in one article I have read the author said at least 4 months of age my piglet would become aggressive (his male) because of his hormones. I have talked to my Ag teacher about this and he said he could band my pig aka Arlo. I was just wondering if this way would be best in interest of my pig or are their anymore ways to do this while still being safe for Arlo?

Thank you ,
Savannah 
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Hi Savannah

I see you posted your question some time ago.  Arlo must have grown quite a bit by now.  How are things going?

I did not notice the date of your post until after I had written the response below:

Are you going to neuter your dear Arlo piggie, or has he been already??   I don't think you really want an unneutered male unless you are planning to breed him.  Is Arlo going to be slaughtered when he reaches slaughter size?

What breed is he?  I think there are some breeds that are gentler than others, and know that some people have kept them as house pets.  (A woman I used to work with had a pot bellied pig who was a house pet, went in and out the dog door like a dog, and like many a dog, slept in her bed.  He was a neutered male.  Never did the question of aggression come up.

I'm not familiar with the term "band", what does your ag teacher mean by this?

I'm not familiar with aggression in barrows (neutered male pig).  Many a 4H and FFA child has safely raised a barrow.  I think if you are going to hand raise him, and spend a lot of time with him, and he is not going to be in a group of many, then it's not necessarily true he will become aggressive.  He'll be more like a pet.  It's possible Arlo will be a more aggressive than average pig.

I have heard of mature boars and sows being dangerous, but those are the adults and again it would depend on the individual animal and the circumstances.  Mama with babies= more protective.  etc.
 
Su Ba
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Oh Savannah, I apologize for missing your questions earlier.

I'm pro neutering. I neuter all my male piglets as soon as they are healthy and robust. The younger they are when it is done, the easier it is in them. I've never had a litter of my own, but I've neutered friends' piglets as early as 1 1/2 weeks of age. They could be done even younger than that. I usually get a new piglet when they are 6-8 weeks old and I neuter immediately. Yes, it's a more traumatic at this age, but they are still young enough to tolerate it well if they are handled quietly and gently. The older they get or the more roughly they are handled, the more physically traumatic it becomes.

I've never banded a piglet nor heard of anyone in my area trying it. I've always used the cut method. But I do routinely use banding for my lambs and kids, who don't seem to notice the band when it's applied correctly.

There are plenty of YouTube videos showing piglet neutering at different ages and using different methods. Perhaps they could help you decide.
 
Joellen Anderson
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The only time I have seen banding is on cows and goats, but I'm pretty sure it would work on pigs. I have to say though that from a veterinary standpoint banding is probably one of the most drawn-out and painful ways of castrating. If your pigs have been neutered then banding would be unnecessary, because they won't have testicles to band! Surgical methods are usually the least painful with the fastest recovery. Are your pigs under anesthesia when you do the neutering?

PS Neutering at a younger age is indeed far less traumatic, and means that the hormones which bring out aggression never arise. If the testicles begin to develop and produce testosterone then you won't get the same results. The pigs will slowly get less aggressive, but may never lose an "edge".
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Because the testes on a male pig are not "hanging out" in a sac, it would be very hard to put a band on them.  So difficult that is why I did not realize that's what was being suggested by the ag teacher.  Any animals that a band is used on the testicles are pendulous, and it is easy to put a rubber band around them. 

I tried to find an online image showing pig testicles, but couldn't find a good one.  Below, is the best I could do.  The testicles are on the back end of the pig, under his tail.  They sit behind the rest of the pig, and then there is skin behind them, kind of an awkward description, but instead of hanging down as in a bull or ram, they are flat against the pig's body.  More like trying to put a band on your knee cap than your big toe.

Castrating pigs without anesthesia is a noisy job as the piglets squeal bloody murder, something pigs are very good at, and they attain astonishing volume of their high pitched squeal.  And I can't say I blame them.  Consequently, pigs are castrated very young, with or without a local anesthetic, because in addition, those little piggies wiggle, and try to get away.  Even trying to put them a holder of some kind is a challenge. 


When I was in 4H, one person held the piglet by the hind legs while another made an incision and removed each teste.

Ouch ouch ouch.
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Su Ba
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Castrating via traditional old farm methods is indeed noisy and traumatic. But I've castrated many a piglet at 6 weeks of age and younger without all that trauma. Having someone wrap them in a blanket, hold them comfortably on their lap, and quietly hold and coo to them puts them into a quiet state. They can then be gently castrated via cutting without the piglet moving or squealing.

The older the piglet, the more traumatic I've found it to be, plus the more bleeding. Even at six weeks of age I saw virtually no bleeding if the piglet is quiet. The only time I did castration on older piglets I used a local anesthetic, basically to control bleeding. And general anesthesia may be required on even older males.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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sounds a lot better to me!
 
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