Welcome Frequently Asked Questions Starting Out in Pig Keeping disappearing piglets help needed.

This topic contains 7 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  stephen booth 6th October 2010 at 10:36 pm.

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    Hi I have now lost three piglets in mysterious circumstances. The first went missing from a litter about a month ago and I have now lost two in quick succession from my last litter. They have disappeared without trace. I can only think that something, maybe a fox, is stealing into my barn and taking them. Does anyone know if a fox will take a piglet? I have taken some steps to make my barn more secure but it is difficult to block every point of entry. Any help appreciated.


    bramblebee porkers

    Fox and Badgers both take young piglets
    Lock them up at night time
    Try and shoot the fox and hope its not the later


    sally lugg

    outdoor farrowing sows are particulary vulnerable to raids by foxes-
    we seem to lose them during the summer months when food for the females is more scarce than in the spring.
    i recently had a litter of 11 from a saddleback sow which over 2 evenings was reduced to 4.
    when we first had pigs I would spend hours in the farrowing paddocks
    waiting for them to farrow but these days I have less time in the evenings so usually find the litter the following morning- several times I have been disappointed to find a small litter and the sow very upset- I now think they had fallen victim to a visiting fox or 2.
    If I know foxes are around then we will put large boards in front of the ark- the sow’s soon recognise the routine and almost seem to be relieved that you are protecting their litter.
    the only piglet i lost to a badger was one about 4 weeks old from a litter escaping from their paddock to play in some large borders in our garden. I found half the body with a clean cut around it’s middle and I guess it had disturbed the badger who had just opened it’s jaws!!
    i have heard that a radio left on all night will deter a fox from entering a building- must be tuned to a radio station with plenty of chat and not just music.



    Hi both, thanks for your replies. I have just been up to the barn to check on my pigs and still have 8 piglets, so hope they will soon be too big for either a fox or a badger!



    How old were the piglets? I have just come back from our farmyard to find the sow who farrowed on Tuesday has eaten one piglet and left its head and I suspect a couple of weeks back when one went missing from her neighbour that it strayed into her pen and she ate that as well. She still has 8 other piglets and has never eaten them before so hope she keeps the remainder.



    Hi – I always bring my girls into a secure stable to farrow, but even then, I block up the gap below the outer door. The reason being, that when not being used for farrowing, I use to keep a few geese in the adjoining stable and was amazed when a fox got in and took two fully grown geese and the only way of getting them out, was to go over the inside stable door. The reason I bring them in, is because I can keep an eye on them, but also on the advice from a retired pig farmer, who use to work on a large outdoor unit, where farrowing arks were used and he said that they would go out every night and shoot the foxes that would come in to try and steal the piglets. He said it was shocking the amount of piglets that were taken by foxes and probably badgers as well.
    Hope you do not lose anymore – all the best Tess


    North Down Farm

    My guess is that Georgina is right.
    Some sows will eat piglets that they have squashed, and you will be none the wiser.


    stephen booth

    For what ever reason one night last winter at around 2am i looked out across the yard to a pig pen. The pen has a 6ft wide 4ft high tubular slatted gate. Sat one side was a fox and on the other side several inquisitive 6week old piglets. You could tell the foxes mind was ticking over . “” if i jump in i can get one …but can i jump out carrying it ??? “” The quandry seemed to last an age but was probably 5 mins. In the end the fox worked out it would not have the strength to jump out with one , so got up and walked off.
    Earlier in the spring we had a 3week old piglet go missing ovenight . I dont know for sure it was the same fox…. but i wouldnt be suprised if it were the culprit

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