Litter Picking

If you have pedigree pigs and as your litters from the summer approach weaning you will need to decide which pigs may be suitable for breeding and registering as such.

Pedigree litters need to be identified by tattooing or notching before they are weaned and the appropriate birth notification form completed. This is the first stage in the process to potentially registering pigs for breeding.

The earlier and smaller the piglets are when you notch or tattoo the easier it will be. Always remove Mum from the pen and place her somewhere secure. This is much safer and quicker than taking the piglets from her. Ideally remove her from the same building as the piglets as no matter how quick and efficient you are, there will be a lot of noise and she will get very upset if she can hear this.

Some people are uncomfortable about tattooing, notching or even tagging. Most of the noise created is from the fact the piglet has been picked up and restrained. Once the job is done and you put them down they may grunt rather indignantly but seem to soon forget the process.

Have all your equipment ready and to hand. Organise at least another pair of hands if not two pairs, especially the first time. Remember a can of coloured spray to mark the piglets as you do them, so you know who is done already if you have to put them down in the same pen.

Have a copy of the birth notification form to note all the details on, then transfer the information to a clean form or use to complete the electronic form on line. Make notes of potential breeding pigs so the litter is easier to sort through later.

Selection, identification and safe handling are all covered on our pig keeping courses.

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