Once your sow has been bred either by artificial insemination or
the natural way, it will be approximately three months, three
weeks, and three days before the sow is ready to give birth.
After a few months of pregnancy it is a good idea to take the sow
to the veterinarian to make sure the pregnancy is progressing
well. You can even have a sonogram done to see how many piglets
your sow will bear. A sonogram can also spot potential problems
with the birth.
Long before the sow is ready to give birth you should have a
special pen set up for her with plenty of clean, dry straw,
warmth and lots of room. This is generally called a
It is excellent if you have a birthing pen for her, and then
after she gives birth move her and the piglets to the farrowing
pen so that the farrowing pen is nice, sanitary and clean.
Piglets do not have the ability to keep themselves warm when they
are born, so it is necessary that warmth is provided in the
farrowing pen, and it is essential that the farrowing pen is kept
clean at all times to prevent the piglets from getting sick. You
should also consult with the veterinarian to either get the
initial immunization shots for the piglets to administer when
they are born or have the veterinarian administer them very
shortly after the sow gives birth.
The signs when a sow is ready to give birth are those that are
pretty universal to all species. First the sow will act oddly and
may snap at other pigs and animals, generally not acting like
herself. Then the sow will want to go to wherever she made her
"nest". She will not be happy with anyone or anything near her
and will bite if disturbed. A bloody show will appear
and you will know that the birth of the piglets is very
close at this time.
The sow eventually will lie down on her side and will become
completely self-absorbed. It is okay to approach her at this
time, just stay away from her head, move slowly, and be soothing.
The last thing you want to do is shout or hop around a sow giving
A piglet comes out feet first normally. The important thing is
that they do get out of the sow. Each piglet will come out in its
own sack that should then be pulled away from the piglet. Have
towels, scissors, rubber gloves, aspirator, water and string
available at this time. You will need cool water in a shallow pan
for the sow and warm water in a bucket for you to wash off.
Birthing is very messy business, so wear old clothing that you
don't mind being ruined.
Once the piglet is out of its mother rub it briskly with a towel
to get it breathing. Make sure that the nose and mouth are clear
and use the aspirator if necessary. Once you have all the sack
off the piglet and the mucus cleared away, tie off the umbilical
with some string and cut the umbilical away. Make sure to cut
between the tie and the sow, so that the area that is tied off is
still tied off. Do not put the piglet back with the sow until all
the piglets are born and then put the sow and the piglets back
together and encourage the piglets to suckle on the sow.
Make sure that the sow and piglets appear healthy and check on
them often to be proactive about any kind of health issues. Also
make sure to clean the pen thoroughly and often to prevent
disease, and you should have a happy sow and healthy piglets.