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The Orphan Piglet - How to Care for a very young Baby Pig

It is a sad occurrence that sometimes happens for one reason or
another that a piglet or baby pig becomes an orphan. It is a
fairly challenging and time consuming job, which also requires
good luck, to actually save a very young piglet from dying when
it is separated from its mother. The odds are fifty-fifty at

One of the most important things to remember about being a
surrogate mother to a very young piglet is that they need to be
kept very warm - around ninety degrees. Using a heating pad or a
safe heat lamp hooked where it won't fall down on the piglet is
good. Keep the piglet in a pet carrier or a play pen. If you are
using a play pen drape sheets all around it to keep drafts from
getting to the piglet. For newborn piglet you can even use a
human newborn carrier and you can then carry it wherever you go.

A newborn piglet does not produce its own heat well until it is
at least two weeks old and you must keep it warm in whatever way
you choose until it is that old. If you do not know how old it is
then give it options so that it can move from warmer to cooler as
it chooses. Pigs are very able to let you know when something is

To feed a newborn piglet, use an eye dropper. Be very careful and
feed the milk slowly so that the milk doesn't get into the lungs
rather than the stomach. Patience is the motto here. When the
piglet is very young it can't drink from a bottle and it can't
drink from a pan.

Some people will twist the corner of a towel and dip it into milk
and let the piglet suck on it. Both ways have their problems. You
can't guarantee that fibers won't be sucked down or that the baby
pig won't choke on the towel if it becomes untwisted. On the
other hand, the dropper can drown a very small pig, so great care
must be taken in either case. For a very young pig, using a
twisted corner of a towel or an eye dropper is okay. They are too
young to fight you and the need to eat will usually override any

An older pig can be introduced to the bottle or a small flat dish
the size of an ash tray. A bottle is easier to introduce in some
cases than a dish, but piglets will fight both methods because
they know it is not mom. To introduce milk in a small dish you
hold the piglet in your lap under one arm and use your other hand
to introduce the dish. Dip the piglet's nose into the milk and
after a few times of doing this and getting milk splashed on you
it will eventually get the idea. Just remember to keep trying and
eventually they will get it. It will get easier each time.

If you start out with a dish it is easier to go from milk to
solid foods and you will only have to wean them once, whereas if
you start with a bottle you will have to break them of both the
bottle and the milk.

Goat milk is best for a piglet. You can also find commercial sow
milk replacer but it isn't as good for the piglet as goat milk
would be. Warm the piglet's milk to skin temperature just like
for a human baby. A baby pig can not take in a lot of milk at a
time so they will need to be fed every two hours or so. At a week
old they can go to every three to four hours before being fed.

Be sure to keep all utensils sanitary and clean and if you are
using a milk replacer make it the same consistency every time to
ensure that the piglet is getting enough nutrition. Once you
start a formula do not change this as it can cause digestion

Try to break your piglet of eating during the night after one
week old. They should be able to sleep throughout the night
without eating and wake hungry.

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