by Tony York
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Adorable, fascinating, lovable, enchanting, amusing and captivating are just a very few of the adjectives used to describe piglets . There is hardly ever a bad word said about them although the phrase ‘time wasters’ does occasionally spring to mind.
Piglets are very independent animals. After 115 days inside their mother’ s womb they are delivered into this world with their only saviour being instinct, courage and a determination to survive. From the first shaky stumble to find the ‘milk bar’ they are alone, the mother (sow) makes no attempt to lick, clean, dry or touch them in any way.
A pig can have any number of piglets; an average of ten to twelve piglets successfully born and reared is good. It is not usual for a sow that is kept and fed naturally to have between fourteen and sixteen. Most pig breeds have a minimum of twelve teats although, again, fourteen or sixteen is not unusual so in such cases a mother can successfully rear a similar number of piglets.
A piglet, although still suckling, will start picking at solid food from about 10 days old and should be weaned (separated from mother) at about 8 weeks. Piglets kept inside require an iron injection within four to six days of birth as they lack a sufficient amount of iron in their bodies. If they are kept naturally and able to dig and eat the outside soil they will get all the iron they need from day one. Grass and soil in the piglet’s ark is the greatest gift you can give him.