We can read many articles that it can be already decided by the time of birth which piglet will be sold as first-class or slaughter pig. Although it might be true, we also need to know that human factor can change the number of second-class piglets.
What does it means: second-class piglet? Many times, we misjudge the small but vital piglets. A second-class pig is defined as a pig that has an external, visual defect or animal health problem that has a persistent symptom up to the point of sale.
With a well-trained management, small and low-weight born piglets can be effectively raised and marketed as a 30 kg pig or even a first-class fattener. Even a low weight but healthy piglet can gain up to 200 grams per day with proper management in the first week after weaning. It is important to know that during the first phase of the piglet’s life (in the farrowing unit), the small pig must be placed under a very good milking sow, and when we train the pig to dry feed, it is important to use food type that favors the pig's weight and digestive ability. A good piglet’s milk intake can be observed when you generate a small litter with cross-fostering and the piglet who takes more milk, until the time of weaning will gain up to 1,5 kilos more than the rest of the piglets in the group. It gives the explanations that even the small piglet can grow if gets the necessary amount of mother milk.
During weaning, these small piglets should be taken care in a way how traditional farmers did in the old times. Remember, when our grandparent’s sow gave birth over 12 piglets, the last 2-3 weaker piglets were grown manually from baby bottle, most of the time successfully. The same way applies in the modern animal production. Another fact we learned from old farmers is that liquid feed was added as solid feed for the 8-10 days old piglets, which resulted that by the time of weaning even the small piglets gained the same weight like the pigs under the sow. So, we need to take care more and better of the little pigs at the beginning- it can be a suckling pig or even a weaned pig. Either way, the most effective management is to have an ideal feed for these piglet’s digestive system, and in the first two weeks, if necessary, feed the pig several times a day with liquid food before turning the piglets into completely dry feed.
It is important to pay attention to the liquid feed of the weaned piglets and avoid to get addicted to liquid food, because this may drastically reduce dry feed intake, increasing starvation, damaging the intestines and digestion. By the suckling piglets it is not an issue because the sow milk always be in priority.