A sow is pregnant for three months, three weeks, and three days. There’s no doubt that your sow is pregnant if it shows no sign of being in heat three weeks after mating or after insemination.

It is vital to keep a record of when your sow was bred and make accurate calculations to determine the date of farrowing so that you can be ready for piglets. Preparedness for farrowing prevents cases of piglet mortality due to environmental causes, for instance, extreme cold and rare instances of pigs eating their young.

If you are rearing pigs as pets or for pork, you need to feed your pigs a balanced diet to boost their health and help them perform accordingly. A healthy pig will come in heat on time and will not take too much effort to get pregnant. Additionally, a healthy pregnant sow will birth healthy piglets.

The first step in taking good care of a pregnant sow is finding out if it is pregnant in the first place.

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The 4 Signs of Pregnancy in Pigs

A pregnant sow does not behave like other pigs. This is due to hormonal changes occurring in their bodies. They experience changes in temperament towards other pigs and humans as well. Therefore, a pregnant sow requires special treatment. It needs to be fed, housed, and handled differently.

There are numerous signs that confirm pregnancy in pigs. They include:

1. Changes in Estrous Cycle

This is by far the first indicator of pregnancy. If your sow does not return to a standing heat cycle, the mating or insemination process was a success.

If a boar is present, you will notice disinterest in mating. Moreover, your sow will want to be as far from the male as possible. In the case of insemination, if your sow does not exhibit signs of heat, such as reddening and swelling of the vulva, you are good to go.

It is essential to keep an eye on your sows as this will enable you to notice such changes in behavior.

black potbellied pig
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2. Increased Appetite

Pregnant sows might not display an increased need for food during the early stages of pregnancy. However, as they draw closer to farrowing, they become ravenous. Their bodies convert stored fat in their bodies into milk for their babies, thus the increased appetite.

You should up your sow’s feed as pregnancy progresses. Ensure you feed a well-balanced diet, including vitamins and minerals that will help keep it healthy and strong.


3. Changes in Heartbeat

If you are in the habit of regularly checking your pigs’ vital signs, you are bound to notice a change in heartbeat. Increased heart rate is common due to bodily changes. Most pig breeders carry this out to check for gestation.

If you have the right equipment, you can do it yourself. Otherwise, call a qualified veterinary doctor to do it for you. In the process, you could get to hear the piglets’ heartbeats as well.

a potbellied pig
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4. Swollen Belly and Teats

This sign is not very apparent until the third month of pregnancy. The stomach develops a potbelly shape and sags downwards due to the weight of the babies. If you are attentive enough, you will notice piglets moving around in the belly when the pregnant sow lies down on its side.

At this point in the pregnancy, the sow will seem like it has lost weight. This is no cause for alarm. The fats are more distributed at this stage to produce milk.

The sow’s udder also swells, and the teats seem red and swollen. All this is in preparedness for breastfeeding its piglets.

All these are indicators of pregnancy in pigs. If they are not enough to confirm your speculations, you can get a pregnancy test kit from the store or purchase one online.

Do the test between 18-35 days after serving your sow.  This will put your mind at ease since a pregnancy test confirms whether the sow is pregnant or sick.new pig divider

How Many Piglets Does A Pregnant Sow Birth?

Piglets Can a Sow
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Pigs are among the most prolific animals around. They have about two litters in a year and can give birth to 12-14 piglets in a litter. In some cases, sows farrow up to 20 piglets.

This is dependent on how well your sow is fed during pregnancy and on its general health. The boar also has a big role to play in determining the quality of offspring, so you must be keen on selecting the male for breeding.

When your pig is farrowing, you should have a remote unit with a nest for the piglets. Make the nest or crib comfortable. Get a heat source to keep the piglets warm and cozy and gather some straw to act as bedding.

You can avoid piglet mortality by being present during the birthing process.

Issues may arise such as:
  • The mother lying on the piglets
  • Delayed or difficulty farrowing (dystocia)
  • Asphyxiation and death of piglets in the cervix
  • Birth of piglets with defects

Most times, the pregnant sow has no issues while farrowing. However, if there is delayed birthing, the pregnant sow can be injected with oxytocin.

This injection introduces hormones that will speed up the process. Inform a vet so that they can advise accordingly on the safety of this injection for your sow in particular.

Normal farrowing takes up to eight hours.  Allow an extra one to four hours for the placenta to be expelled.

pot-bellied mini-pigs in the farm
Image Credit: Potckong, Shutterstock

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Summary

A pig’s gestation period is unique. It takes three months, three weeks, and three days. This period must include proper feeding and special care to ensure your sow has a smooth pregnancy.

It would be proper to include a vet to walk with you throughout the process because every pig is different. Besides, learning what drugs and supplements to give to boost your sow’s health is essential. Supplementation is good for your pregnant sow and the unborn piglets.

Additionally, understanding your sow’s temperament is paramount so that you can work around their change in behavior. Your sow’s mood will get better after farrowing.


Featured Image Credit By: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay