Tag Archives: eponychium

Piglet Slippers

I did not grow up raising piglets. Of course, I raised hogs in 4-H and FFA as a child, but I only finished hogs. Starting a farrow to finish  business is something I got into in my adult life. I had to learn a lot about farrowing (birthing) piglets, rather quickly. Like anything, to be good, you need to keep learning. I have been incredibly lucky to have lots of pig experts in my life. Again and again I have reached out to them with basic questions and they have come back with thorough, knowledgeable answers.

This is the eponychium on a brand new piglet.

This is the eponychium on a brand new piglet.

In an effort to pay it forward, I decided to share something I find interesting and an average person might not know. The piglet slippers! Let me be clear, piglet slippers is not the correct term, it is the eponychium or the deciduous hoof capsule. Piglets are born with these to prevent hurting the sows reproductive tract. As soon as they are born they dry up and fall off.

The same piglet just a few minutes later. The eponychium is totally gone.

The same piglet just a few minutes later. The eponychium is totally gone.

It’s not just piglets who are born with eponychium, all animals with hooves have them. Unfortunately, I tried this summer to get some good shots of a baby calf’s capsules but the time I wiped the afterbirth off my hands and got my phone out, they were gone. That’s how fast they dry up. I’ll try again next calving season.

And a shot of a piglet in it's sack demonstrating how the eponychium works. This was a healthy, alive piglet by the way.

And a shot of a piglet in it’s sack demonstrating how the eponychium works. This was a healthy, alive piglet by the way.

This is a really fascinating part of birth. Oddly, I can’t remember ever being taught about this in my animal science classes, it was one of those things I had to ask about. I hope I was able to pass on some hog knowledge to you today! 

1 Comment

Filed under Ag, agriculture, animals, fun facts, Know a California Farmer, photos, Pigs, Ranch life, Uncategorized