Piglet Presentations at Farrowing


Piglets may present in a variety of positions at the point of farrowing. Most of the time, the piglet can still be born without assistance, but the following drawing may help a stockperson understand what their fingers are telling them when manual assistance is deemed necessary.


Anat Landrace Skel foetus  copy

A sow or gilt which presents with a farrowing problem should already be in the farrowing area. If standing, encourage the female to lie down by rubbing her udder line. It is very dangerous to attempt to farrow a sow while standing, especially if there is a rear bar on the crate.

AI washing hands collection

Farr prep1


Wash your hands carefully. Ensure your finger nails are short. Dry your hands. Place an arm length glove over each hand.

It is somethime easier to try and learn to be able to use either hand to assist farrowing. Ensure you apply plenty of lubricant to your hand and arm.

Place extra lubricant in to the palm of your hand. Bring your fingers together and carefully enter the vulva lips and start exploring the vulva and vagina.

Farr forward normal copy

Repro foetus forwards shoulder 1

Normal (ideal) presentation.

If piglet slightly oversized, place rope on both front feet and assist farrowing

Front legs back retrieve front legs pull forward and remove piglet.

Farr drawing bhead forward copy

Farr drawing upside down copy

Forward but front feet back, possibly hind feet forward. Push piglet back into pelvis and pull front feet forward. Place head rope onto head and rope onto front feet and remove piglet. If still difficult, may be necessary to push hind feet backwards before pulling on piglet.

Piglet upside down. May be possibly to pull front feet forward and by applying head rope and rope of feet, pull piglet out. If still difficult, will be necessary to rotate piglet. Note, if the piglet is alive, by pressing on the eye sockets will make piglet wriggle and turn.

Farr piglet legs back 1

Repro foetus birth backwar copy

Backwards with back feet backwards. Place rope around back feet and remove piglet. If piglet is difficult check shoulder position, may be necessary to manipulate front legs into forward position.

Breech. Hook onto back hocks and manipulate legs backwards until feet visible. Do the second foot. Apply ropes to the feet and remove piglet

Farr sideways presentation copy

Farrow ropes detail copy

Most difficult position. Push piglet back into uterine body and bring head forward. Place head rope onto piglet. Retrieve legs and place rope on legs and remove piglets. Often other pigs will rapidly follow, several may be stillborn.

Placement of head rope. Note rope goes behind both ears and looped into mouth. It is then tightened against the mouth. Thus with gentle traction varying between legs and head, the piglet can be eased through the pelvis.

It should not be necessary be break sweat when farrowing a sow. Consider patience and use of oxytocin. Do not overreach into the sow to retrieve every piglet you can feel, give nature a chance.