Unless they are cared for properly, half of newborn piglets die in the first 14 days.
This is mainly caused by infections due to various reasons, trauma got during the delivery process, coldness or lack of warmth or poor feeding, leading to nutritional deficiencies.
Sometimes the sow may die and leave the piglets without mother care. To avoid this:
The farrowing pen must be designed so that the sow cannot lie on top of the piglets. It should be cleaned and disinfected before a pregnant sow is introduced.
Newborn piglets are sensitive to coldness, draughts, wet bedding and floors, and sudden temperature changes. All precautions must be taken to ensure the environment is regulated.
Provide a heating source during cold weather; this should be kept out of sow’s reach.
The sow’s milk has insufficient iron and they need iron injections at three to seven days to prevent them from becoming anaemic, with consequent poor appetite and stunted growth.
Make sure that piglets suckle soon after birth to take in colostrum. This is the first milk produced by the sow which protects piglets against disease.
If a sow has more piglets than teats, move the piglets to another sow, but only if the piglets of both sows are born within a few days after the other.
Sometimes a sow will not accept her own piglets. If this happens, take the piglets away for a few hours. If she still refuses to accept them, put them with another sow if possible. This is common in sows giving birth for the first time. Such sows may be given a second chance before culling them.