2. The birth process

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Follow the birth process closely

When is the birth process successful?

The birth process is successful when you have a vital eating and drinking sow, that has no fever, and has vital piglets, drunken their belles full with colostrum.

How long should the birth process take?

You recognize a good expulsion phase of the birth process, when the time between the first and last piglet born in a litter shouldn't take longer than 5 hours. The normal time between 2 piglets should be 20 to 30 minutes.

How to monitor the birth process?

How do you recognize dystocia in a sow? You can recognize this by looking at the litter. Dry piglets means that it has taken a long time before the last piglet was born. Another way is by checking the sow chart. If you note down regularly time and number of piglets present in the litter, you can see whether extra piglets were born since the last time you've checked it.

When is a manual check necessary?

When do you decide to do a manual check during the birth process? First when you see a sow pushing and no piglets are born. And second reason to do a manual check of the sow is when the birth process takes too long and just a couple of piglets are born. In case a lot of piglets are born yet and you have doubts whether the birth process has ended or not you to start with giving an oxytocin injection. Be careful and always check the sow within 15 minutes after you've injected her to see whether the placenta is born or another piglet. If neither of those two happens you should check the sow manually.

The manual check: do it properly!

How to do a manual check? First, clean the vulva to prevent dirt into the birth canal. Second use gloves and lots of lubricants as you don't want to hurt the sow and cause lesions. And thirdly, don't go too deep, as it is not necessary to reach the nose of the sow! Just take out the piglets that are stuck in the birth canal, the vagina and the first part of the uteri's. Piglets taken out of the birth canal have to be checked on bleeding in the umbilical cord. If bleeding exists just tie a knot in the umbilical cord. After the manual check of the sow always end with the oxytocin injection, preferably inject them into muscularly and not in the vulva.
The birth process ends the day after all piglets are born. The sow who is helped manually has to be checked again, if she eats and drinks well and does not have a fever, as a vital sow is the best LifeStart for the piglets.