We knew it could happen, and knew that the weather was ideal for this to happen, but we got hit, and pretty bad at that. Pneumonia. We had weaned a week before Christmas, and we knew with the weather, stress and combining two litters together, we needed to really watch them. Jason went out to do chores on Christmas Day around 8 and came running in. We had some downed piglets. We both went racing out, penicillin in hand, to see what we could do to save who we could. We got the whole lot into the barn (for the most part, they are in a lean-to with an extra hut for warmth inside the lean-to). We bedded it up with straw and wood chips and got the heat lamp on them. We gave each of them a dose of penicillin, and put the electrolytes in their water. We lost four piglets. It is so devastating to lose them, I feel we did all we could, but it still feels like failure.
The remainder of the piglets are enjoying the TLC they have been getting, and are quite spunky! They are really feeling good! They will keep enjoying their nest inside the barn as we brace for another round of bitter cold temperatures. The rest of our pigs are doing great, and amaze us with their hardiness. The Large Black are amazing animals in all seasons.
Please everyone, keep close watch on your animals, even the smallest cough can turn into something deadly. We do not like to nor do we "jump" to medicate our animals, we feel that their immune system needs to be strong enough to take on illnesses, but we also will not hesitate to medicate them if we feel it is absolutely necessary to do so. We also record the medication, date (range), and withholding time for our records.
Let me know if you have questions or advice on how to take care of pneumonia. With temperatures going up and coming down, moisture outside, it is easier for the pigs to contract illnesses. I hope you all get something out of this blog that was so devastating to us.
HAPPY NEW YEAR from PASTURE PRIME FARM!