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Savaging of Piglets (Cannibalism)

This is a condition mainly in first litter gilts that may account for up to 3% increase in piglet mortality.


  • Offending gilts can often be identified by their nervous apprehension at the onset of farrowing.
  • They have a "wild eyed" look.
Piglets, Weaners, Growers


    Causes / Contributing factors

  • It is thought to be related, in part at least, to the major hormone changes that take place around parturition.
The following factors seem to predispose to it:
  • A harsh or alien environment.
  • Poor empathy between the gilts and the stockperson.
  • Nutritional deficiencies.
  • The effect of being placed in individual confinement for the first time.
  • It may also be related to temperament.
  • It seems to be more prevalent in some breeds than others.
  • Alarming outbreaks have been experienced in new gilt herds where 100 - 150 pregnant animals have been reared together in straw yards. In such large groups no pecking order develops.


Severe trauma to the skin and limbs. Clinical picture. History.

Further Reading

Click on the links below to find out more about this disease, including treatment, management control and prevention information. The top link is the main article on this disease.