FEEDING BABIES AND JUVENILES
Animals don't have much. What they do have is a life and they will fight tooth and claw to keep it.
Babies and Juveniles
Hoglets should be fed with a milk substitute such as Esbilac which contains all the fats, vitamins and minerals they need. Under no circumstances should you give them cow's milk. Goat's milk with Goat's colostrum may be used for a short period of time if nothing else is available.
You will need:
- a sterile syringe, 1ml, 5ml or 10ml
- a short piece of rubber tubing such as a cannula, also sterile
- a warmer to keep the feed at body temperature
Refer to the list below for amounts and frequencies. Make up only enough feed for one sitting and warm it to body temperature. Test it on the back of your arm as you would for a baby. I use a bottle warmer with a dish in the top to keep the food at the right temperature throughout feeding but others use food warmers with tea lights.
Place the baby on a towel on your lap. Keep it the right way up, on it's feet. DO NOT put the baby on its back as it may inhale the feed and drown.
Put the tip of the syringe, or rubber tube if it's a very young hoglet, under the lip and gently squeeze out a drop. Some hoglets will instantly attack the syringe and gobble the lot down, others take a while to get the idea. Feed slowly, do not be tempted to press the plunger hard.
Once the feed is complete, the youngest hoglets will need to be toiletted. If you haven't seen them passing urine or faeces by themselves then you MUST do it for them. A cotton bud dipped in almond oil then gently but quickly tickled around the genital area should do the trick.
If you cannot get the baby to eat or toilet please take it to an experienced person immediately. There is no time to hang around, they need to be seen urgently. Do not feel you have failed. Some youngsters can be very problematic for many reasons and even the experts lose them. At the very least you can be shown how to do things properly so that you have more confidence.
- Birth to three days old
- At birth the hoglets are blind, deaf, pink, bald and weigh around 7-25 grams
- At one hour, white spines start to push through the outer skin
- At 36 hours a second coat of dark brown spines begin to emerge. The hoglet starts to jump if disturbed
Feed 1-2 ml of milk substitute every 2 hours. DO NOT GIVE ANY MILK CONTAINING LACTOSE
- Three days to one week
- Do not leave more than 6 hours between feeds
Feed 1-2ml of milk substitute every 3 hours last feed around midnight to 2am
- One to two weeks old
- One week - still blind and deaf, white spines longer than brown ones. Whiskers emerge
- 11 days old - start to curl
Feed 2-3ml of milk substitute every 3 hours
- Two to three weeks old
- Two weeks - More second coat spines. Fine hairs like stubble on snout
- Eyes and ears begin to open
- Third coat of larger and stronger spines start to emerge
Feed 3-5mls of milk every 3-4 hours
- Three weeks old
- Few white spines left, almost replaced by third stage spines
- First incisor teeth start to appear
- Dense covering of short brown hair
Feed 5-6mls every 3-4 hours and leave a small, shallow dish of feed to encourage baby to lap
- Four weeks old
- No longer has the rounded puppy appearance to the snout
- skin completely covered by fur
- Should weigh between 84-130 grams
Start to give solid food as the milk teeth should have erupted. It's often a good idea to wean the baby by intially liquidising some puppy meat and mixing it in with the milk substitute
- Five to six weeks old
- Phase out hand feeds and give small dish of milk substitute and liquid food mixed together
- Hills Prescription A/D or Royal Canin Recovery RS are ideal first food choices and are normally well accepted by hoglets
- Six to eight weeks old
- Give tinned puppy food
- Make sure a very shallow dish of fresh water is available at all times
- Shallow is very important as a hoglet can drown in very little
- Eight weeks old
- Give dog or cat food
- Should now weigh 350 grams
Please be aware that hoglets are not straight forward to care for. Many things can go wrong along the way and even with the support of a good vet, it's extremely easy to lose the little ones.
No matter how much you believe you can raise them, I would beg you to seek expert advice. If you go to a good carer they will normally assess the hoglets and then agree a care regime with you. It does not automatically mean you will have to give the animals up. It may be they will be given straight back along with a care sheet, or possibly kept at the rescue for a few days and then returned to you if that's what you want.