What a title! But, you never know, someone might find this information useful, and getting these things right is an important part of rearing weaners for the table – otherwise you could end up with very little to show for it in terms of meat.
Usually, when you buy weaners, they have already been wormed, but it’s worth checking. The two I have now, for example, weren’t. And when it comes to worms, there are a whole list of the horrible parasites that pigs can suffer from, including Kidney Worm, Whipworm and Red Stomach Worm. Sound lovely, don’t they? And the general consensus is that pigs will always suffer with worms if left untreated. In order to prevent an infestation, which can cause havoc with a pig’s insides, leading to loss of appetite, nausea and death, it’s necessary to treat piglets when they wean, at around 2 months old. This is why they usually come wormed. However, if not, you’ll need to worm them asap. Thankfully it’s all quite straightforward. A quick call to your vet (and if you don’t have one, you need one – just in case!) and they’ll sort you out with enough oral wormer to dose your pigs. Of course, there’s no way anyone’s going to get .75ml of worming solution in a syringe and squirt it into a pig’s mouth. Probably. Instead, I squirt it onto a bit of bread (that hasn’t passed through a food prep area – see below) and feed this to them – job done!
Thankfully the actual quantities you need are very simple: one pound per day per month old, up to a maximum of six pounds a day. Of course, if you want it in metric, it’s going to be 453g / day per month old, up to a max of 2.72kg, but somehow I prefer the Imperial formula. Here’s a table illustrating this:
|Age of pig (months)||Weight of Food (pounds)|
Simple, huh? As for when to feed them, twice a day, morning and evening is the norm. I feed mine when I get up (somewhere between 7 and 11am) and when it starts to get dark (say between 4 and 6pm).
The food in question should be proper pig food, designed for finishing weaners. I use Sow and Weaner Nuts, but there’s other stuff out there like Pig Grower Pellets. More important than exactly which pig food you buy is what you shouldn’t feed your pigs, and that is anything that has passed through a food preparation area. Don’t just take my word for it, here’s what DEFRA says:
“Following the outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease in 2001, the first case of which was found to be at a farm where unprocessed waste food was being fed to pigs… it is illegal to feed any pig any catering waste (including used cooking oil) from restaurants, kitchens (both household and central), and other catering facilities even if those establishments cater solely for vegetarians.”
This means no leftovers from dinner, no vegetable trimmings, no half-eaten fruit – nothing whatsoever from the kitchen. Oh, and if you decide to ‘prepare’ your food in the lounge in an attempt to avoid this, guess what: you can’t feed that to them either, because your lounge just became a food preparation area! The same goes for feeding chickens too.
That said, I have a feeling it’s okay to collect the leftover vegetables from a market stall or local green grocer, or pick apples etc. and give those to the pigs… as long as you don’t bring them indoors first! All that aside, weaners will fatten up nicely on pig food alone, so none of this really matters.