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Help my sow just died

 
Posts: 17
Location: Canyonville, OR
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I ventured into our little barn to feed our sow and she was somewhat cold to the touch. She was alive and kicking last night. We have 5 little pigs that are 4 weeks old. We are new at pigs, but apparently we still have more learning to do. Here is what we are doing:
1) The mother and young were on grass in a make shift farrowing crate for the first 1.5 weeks.
2) Afterwards we moved them into an enclosed barn with one gate open to the air for 2.5 weeks.
3) She has had constant access to clean water. The piglets have not.
4) I just read that I was suppose to have water available to the piglets. I was planning on putting that in today!?
5) The barn is big enough for them to have a dirty area and their clean area.
6) I have swept out the barn once since I moved them in and replaced all of the hay on the ground (2 bales)
7) I have been giving her maple leaves from a tree, whole corn stalks from the garden, and a mash of soaked barley with a little bit of kelp, molasses, apple cider vinegar, alfalfa pellets, pig pellets added in. For the first week in the barn I probably should have fed her more, but quickly gave her an all you can eat supply of food after that big mistake.
We have never given the animals any vaccines, medicines, or treatments
9) She has grown up on rotational paddocks since we have had her in the spring moving every 1-15 days.
10) She had watermelon last night.
11) I know some wean their pigs pretty early so at least I have a head start
12) I just dumped a gallon of cows milk in for the little piglets. I will head into town tomorrow and get some kind of milk replacer.

What happened to my sow?

What are my next steps for the piglets?
 
Daniel Johnson
Posts: 17
Location: Canyonville, OR
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Another mistake partly budget partly laziness is we meant to treat her for external parasites in the summer with an oil/garlic mix of some sort.
 
Daniel Johnson
Posts: 17
Location: Canyonville, OR
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13) The hay we used on the ground was old, but dry. Mouse droppings were in the corner of the barn. The barn had not been used for at least 2.5 years by any other farm animal.
14) We used a water barrel with a bit of risk. It is a blue barrel, and had standing water at the bottom of it. My wife has a good nose and she smelled nothing. We cleaned it out with vinegar thoroughly.
 
Daniel Johnson
Posts: 17
Location: Canyonville, OR
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more clues
15) She was not thin according to the healthy size charts I have seen. She had a full stomach and food left in her bowl
16) I noticed quite a few dark marks on her belly. We did not cut the teeth. So she suffered a number of small wounds down there. Death from infection?
 
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I'm so sorry about your pig . It's so heartbreaking when one of our animals dies, especially when we don't know what did it, or if it was preventable. I don't know anything about pigs or their illnesses, but at I can at least BUMP your thread.
 
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Hi Daniel;  Sorry about your piggy and I hope that you can keep the piglets alive & healthy.  Without an autopsy nobody can know why your pig passed.  They can go down so fast!  I understand not wanting to give any kind of medicine to " taint" your meat. However without an antibiotic  the chance of loosing your pig is substantially higher ! In my post "Being Prepared " I tell about almost loosing one of mine this year. If I had not given her a shot I believe she would have been gone by morning. Normally the ONLY thing my pigs have added is food grade diatomaceous earth to their feed...  2% to 3000#of feed  keeps their intestinal tract clean and free of parasites,  keeps the poop smell in check and significantly lowers the number of flies. But as with humans or piggys when you need an antibiotic you need one now! If your going to keep livestock then you really should keep an antibiotic and needles on hand and be prepared to use them ... but hope that you do not .. It is Guaranteed that the vet will always be unavailable  when you badly need one and transporting adult pigs that don't feel well is not something you want to experience.  I read nothing about your care and housing of theses piggys that was not correct  ... its always a learning experience and there usually a "better" or different way of doing things. Keep trying and in a few years you will be an old pro at pig ranching!
 
thomas rubino
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Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
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Daniel; If you can easily get it, goats milk is more digestible than cow.  Also wanted to tell you that in over 10 years of raising pigs. This year was only the second time I have needed to use the antibiotics... first time was a late castration that got infected and this year we have no idea what made fennel get a fever but she went down really fast and the antibiotic saved her ! Currently I have to wait 28 days from the shot,before I can butcher . I will have to buy extra feed for her...   its worth every penny ... I will have a healthy pig after the 13th with all the antibiotic flushed out of her system and tasty pork in the freezer!  I would have liked it better if she never got sick but if she didn't make it I would have no piggy at all.  
 
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Daniel Johnson wrote:I ventured into our little barn to feed our sow and she was somewhat cold to the touch. She was alive and kicking last night. We have 5 little pigs that are 4 weeks old. We are new at pigs, but apparently we still have more learning to do. Here is what we are doing:
1) The mother and young were on grass in a make shift farrowing crate for the first 1.5 weeks.
2) Afterwards we moved them into an enclosed barn with one gate open to the air for 2.5 weeks.
3) She has had constant access to clean water. The piglets have not.
4) I just read that I was suppose to have water available to the piglets. I was planning on putting that in today!?
5) The barn is big enough for them to have a dirty area and their clean area.
6) I have swept out the barn once since I moved them in and replaced all of the hay on the ground (2 bales)
7) I have been giving her maple leaves from a tree, whole corn stalks from the garden, and a mash of soaked barley with a little bit of kelp, molasses, apple cider vinegar, alfalfa pellets, pig pellets added in. For the first week in the barn I probably should have fed her more, but quickly gave her an all you can eat supply of food after that big mistake.
We have never given the animals any vaccines, medicines, or treatments
9) She has grown up on rotational paddocks since we have had her in the spring moving every 1-15 days.
10) She had watermelon last night.
11) I know some wean their pigs pretty early so at least I have a head start
12) I just dumped a gallon of cows milk in for the little piglets. I will head into town tomorrow and get some kind of milk replacer.

What happened to my sow?

What are my next steps for the piglets?



First question: why did you change from an outdoor to indoor environment ?  Suddenly going from out in the open fresh air to indoors can have a huge effect on a hog's health.
second question: why wouldn't you think the babies would  need fresh water available? All animals need this, more so than food.
The feed stuffs you have been giving her were not the best choices, and you may have over fed her, hogs are not ruminants, they can't eat what cows can because they can't digest those items.
Things like molasses are fine for a treat but not a full feeding, alfalfa is pretty much a no go for hogs, far to high in protein for their digestive systems. Tree leaves, some trees can actually poison hogs, others they love and will even knock down a tree to get them.

I suspect there were a number of contributing factors that caused her to expire. IE. sudden change in environment, over feeding of protein and sugars, too little food followed by a glut of food are just some of what can combine to kill a hog.
Babies need a teat to suck on, not a pail of milk. plus at four weeks they can eat things like 14% hog feed pellets.
I have seen many people overfeed their hogs, these people think they are doing their animals good but in reality they are not, a hog should be able to finish the food within 30 minutes if it takes longer they have to much food, if it takes less time, they didn't get enough food.
You only feed hogs once a day, they will forage the rest of the time. If you have had them on pasture, don't just confine them to a barn all at once, let them have access to the barn for a few weeks prior to making that their home.

Raising hogs is a long term learning experience , I'm still learning and will be for at least another 20 years.
I have had one hog come down with phenomia and it took three shot of antibiotics to save her. (we do not normally use anything but herbs when needed)
I've had babies die from everything from being crushed to lack of mother's milk to dog attacks.
I spend around an hour every day with my hogs and look over each one of our breeders then any babies.
I change all the water containers daily and never close them indoors, they get a wide variety of foods along with a ration of hog pellet food which changes depending on 1, their condition, 2, if the sows are pregnant, 3, if the sows are nursing, 4, if the sows are drying up their milk.

I'm terribly sorry for your loss of the sow.

Redhawk
 
pollinator
Posts: 520
Location: Missouri Ozarks
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No idea why the sow died.

We had a sow die 4 weeks after farrowing, a couple years ago.  The long and short of it is the piglets were fine, no need for milk replacer.  Give them a decent grain ration and good outdoor (not just dirt) access and they should be fine.
 
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