Jun 17th 2019 Back to latest news
Do Pigs Build Nests? you bet they do. The humble pig has had a bad wrap in the English language with “pigging out” and you think. Because they are naturally inquisitive, as well, they are completely trainable. That is part of the reason so many people just love a pig.
Recently one of our pigs has had piglets and we wanted to share an insight into one of our favourite amazing animals.
The gestation period of a pig (the female is known as a sow) is 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days. Being so easy to remember you would think it is easy to calculate the due date. Not always so easy to spot because the boar (the male pig) does like to keep practicing!
Pigs do build nests to give birth in and her new born piglets instinctively know that their nest is the safest place to be.
At Farmer Palmers our team keep a close eye on a pregnant pig and bring her indoors a few days before she should be due. She is given straw and materials to make her nest, usually in the corner of her enclosure. In the wild they would make elaborate structures of grasses, twigs, and branches. If no materials are available it could be a simple hollow in the ground filled with grass.
It is important to satisfy this highly motivated functional behavioral need because
This activity will happen in the hours before she is due to give birth. This is often in the late afternoon or evening and you may see her become very active and
This is an important indicator of where the sow is planning to give birth.
A fully grown sow, in good condition and healthy can be pregnant with up to 14 piglets.
Most sows ovulate up to 20 eggs, of which 90% get fertilized, but during pregnancy 30 – 40% of the embryos sadly, naturally die. The average size of a litter is 10 piglets
We love the way they are such great mothers and lay down to let her ravenous bundles of trouble piglets feed. They can expereince sore or blocked teats in the same way humans expereince difficulties breast feeding.
Who decides to stop the piglets milk
Mum definitely decides when she has had enough and the decision is usually linked to the weights of the piglets. If they are doing well she’ll often wean her young before 10 weeks. She increases the time away from her piglets during the day but stays with them at night. The piglets all huddle together for warmth and sleeping. The suckling will oven stop over a 24 hour period.
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