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piglet birth

Farrowing KuneKune piglets

Preparing for Piglet Birth: Essential Supplies You Need

From heat lamps to towels, this guide covers all the essential supplies you need to have on hand for a successful KuneKune piglet birth. Get prepared today!

If you're expecting a litter of piglets, it's important to have the right supplies on hand to ensure a successful KuneKune piglet birth. From keeping the piglets warm to providing a clean and safe environment, this guide covers all the essential supplies you'll need to have ready before the big day.

Settling in the Pregnant Gilt / Sow

First, we must talk about the pregnant female. It is best to move her into her farrowing quarters about 10 days before her birthing piglets. This will give her time to rest and settle into her new environment. There are times they the KuneKune females will not be happy in their new environment, especially first-time moms. If the

female is showing stress after being moved into the farrowing area, you may need to put in one companion for her for 2-3 days until she accepts her “new home” area.

Feeding the Pregnant Sow

I wanted to mention that it is important that you do not increase the amount of food that your female has been getting. She should be getting two cups of grain twice a day as the “golden rule” suggests. This is a measuring cup that you use in your kitchen. 8 oz is equal to a cup. Once the piglets have arrived, you can

increase that to 4 cups twice a day to help get her the needed nourishment during her nursing. There are several other increases that you will make during the

raising of the piglets which are going to be covered in more detail in another article.

Farrowing Quarters

Please watch for preparing your farrowing quarters article that will also be displayed on the website.

Heat lamps and bulbs.

One of the most important supplies you'll need for a KuneKune piglet birth is a heat lamp and bulbs. Piglets are born with very little body fat and can quickly become chilled, which can lead to health problems or even death. A heat lamp will provide a warm and comfortable environment for the piglets to thrive in. Make sure to have extra bulbs on hand in case one burns out during the birth process.

The use of heat lamps can be very scary indeed. You hear about fires in barns all too often. IKKPS suggests using a safer option for heat lamps from Premier One. Be sure to hang your heat lamp at the right height and it is secured not by the cord but, with a secure chain or other nonflammable option. The heat lamp goes into the creep area. The creep area is a section in the farrowing area that is blocked off from the mom where piglets are encouraged to go to keep from accidentally being laid on by the mom.

Clean towels and bedding.

Another essential supply for piglet birth is clean towels and bedding. You'll need to have plenty of clean towels on hand to dry off the piglets as they are born. It's important to use clean towels to prevent the spread of bacteria and infection. You can also use hand towels if you prefer.

Additionally, you'll want to have clean bedding for the sow and piglets to rest on after the KuneKune piglet birth. Straw or hay can be used as bedding, but make sure it's clean and free of mold or other contaminants. It is important to not have the hay very deep in the beginning in the mom’s area as the piglets may bury under and not be seen when mom is lying down. In the creep, it can be deeper as a mom cannot squish piglets in that area as she cannot access it.

Obstetrical lubricant.

Another important supply to have on hand for piglet birth is an obstetrical lubricant. This can help ease the delivery process for the sow and reduce the risk of injury to both the sow and piglets. Make sure to choose a lubricant that is safe for use on animals and follow the instructions carefully. It's also a good idea to have gloves on hand to protect your hands and prevent the spread of bacteria.

Sterile gloves.

When preparing for piglet birth, it is important to have sterile gloves on hand. These gloves can help prevent the spread of bacteria and protect both the sow and piglets during the delivery process. Make sure to choose gloves that are specifically designed for use with animals and follow proper hygiene practices when using them. It's also a good idea to have extra gloves on hand in case they need to be changed during the delivery.

It is important to note that if your hands are washed some breeders do not use gloves as the gloves become slippery and there is an increased chance of dropping a piglet. You will have to try both ways to see what works best for you. However, it is suggested to use gloves, breeders certainly have preferences in this area. Whether you wear gloves or not is a personal choice and does not affect the KuneKune piglet birth.

Clean Scissors

You will want to make sure that your scissors are clean and have been sanitized in alcohol or peroxide. In most cases, the piglets’ umbilical cords are very long when they are born. This causes them to get hay attached to them, getting tangled up with siblings or mom easily stepping on them. This can cause umbilical hernias so 2-3 hours after birth you will want to cut them. Easily flip them over the newborn piglets' back until such a time you can cut them.

Cut the umbilical cords at an angle to avoid bleeding and be careful not to pull the cord close to their bellies. Hold the cord about 1-2 inches from the belly and then cut. For a successful KuneKune piglet birth experience be careful not to cause umbilical hernias.

Iodine solution for umbilical cord care.

Another essential supply to have on hand for KuneKune piglet birth is the iodine solution. This solution is used to clean and disinfect the umbilical cord stump after it is cut. It helps prevent infection and promotes healing. Make sure to use a solution that is specifically designed for use on animals and follow the instructions carefully. It's also a good idea to have an extra solution on hand in case multiple piglets are born and need their cords treated.


Usually, the piglets will come quickly after the first one is born. Having a clock nearby allows you to note the time between piglets as an early warning sign.

Pen, Paper, or Phone

It is handy to have a pen and a piece of paper or your phone nearby. You can easily write down the sex, color, and wattles of the piglets so that you will be ready to

enter your litter notification. Having your phone nearby in case of an emergency is a good idea. Have your vet’s number handy just in case or your mentor’s phone number.

Your comfort

You may want to have some things for yourself as farrowing can take hours. Grab your favorite drink, a book, games for your phone, or whatever you enjoy. Sitting in the farrowing quarters you may want to have things to occupy yourself. While this does affect the KuneKune piglet birth directly, it is helpful for your comfort.

Sitting in the farrowing quarters on the hay with your mom is not always possible depending on the pain level and experience of the pregnant gilt or sow. So having a chair handy can be very convenient as well. If your sow allows you to sit in the hay with her, you may wish to have a towel to sit on, so you are stuck with hay pieces.

Clothes basket

Yes, I did say a clothes basket. Having this handy for an overly excited mom

is quite convenient. Putting piglets in the clothes basket under the heat lamp will keep a mom from accidentally stepping on them during birth. Some moms will lay down the entire time, some moms will get up and move around during farrowing and some moms will squat like they are going to the bathroom during delivery so, having this handy for moms who get up during delivery can be a handy tool.

Trash Bags and Paper Towels

Having a trash bag handy is important to clean up after birth. At the end of farrowing your pig's mom will pass after birth. This is a sign that she has finished farrowing. Consequently, females can pass after birth on each horn of the uterus. So, just because she passed after birth does not mean she is done. Observing her behavior can sometimes be a clue and watching her breathing to see if she is still in labor can sometimes be another clue. We will get into this more in the farrowing article.


This is not for you. Lol, Have a flat beer handy for moms who are high-strung during labor. Sometimes giving them a beer helps to settle them down so they will lie down to have their piglets or to help them relax. This is a handy tip from most experienced breeders. It does not matter what brand you choose.

In Conclusion

As you can see there are many things to consider having in the farrowing quarters with you to make this an easy and smooth process not only for the pregnant female but, also for your convenience and comfort. As always, this article is meant for educational purposes.  IKKPS is dedicated to providing you, the breeders, with the resources and tools needed for you to be a successful KuneKune breeder.  



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