The first days
Keep the litter warm and stimulate the drinking of colostrum wherever possible
Piglets are born behind the sow in a relatively cold environment. The piglets lose a great deal of heat through their wet skin. They have limited reserves in the form of fat and glycogen. Moreover, piglets do not have so-called brown fat like babies do. Their available reserves will only last for one day at most. Piglets must therefore consume colostrum as quickly as possible in order to boost and maintain their body temperature. They are extremely sensitive to temperature fluctuations in the first days of life. The best ambient temperature during the first week of life is 32 to 35˚C. This temperature prevents the great demand for energy to stay warm from inhibiting growth. Besides limited body reserves, piglets also do not have antibodies in their blood at birth. Once again, piglets depend on the colostrum to gain such antibodies.