Holding together the legs of the newborn piglets with splay leg.
The piglets born with splay leg are incapable of holding together their rear legs. Sometimes, the hind legs are also affected, but in these cases it is very difficult to save the affected piglets.
The piglets affected by splay leg have a reduced mobility, and this makes them perfect candidates to be crushed to death and that they encounter much more difficulties to compete for a teat in order to drink colostrum and milk. This makes them candidates to die within the 48 hours after their birth.
The cause is an immaturity of the muscle fibres.
If the legs of the affected animals are held together, their ability to move increases notably. If we also help them to drink colostrum correctly and to start to suck, their survival chances increase considerably.
We have different systems to hold the legs together: sticking plaster, strings, etc. Recently, there are elastic bands that also solve this problem very well.
In the Rienda farm we use plastic straps.
It is important to remember to cut the plastic straps once the animal is able to support itself. A couple of days are enough: the muscle maturation process is completed in that period of time.
When applying the different systems for holding the legs together, we must not tie them very tight; otherwise, when the piglet grows they will cause serious injuries on the legs.