How to administer iron
Administering an iron supplement to your piglets is simple – just follow our guidelines
For an iron treatment to be effective, it needs to be
administered properly. The below guidelines contain a few important
considerations that will make treating your entire herd safe and
Choosing the best iron supplement
There are a number of ways to administer iron. Iron injections
offer more value and are preferred over oral iron supplements
because an injection ensures each piglet gets the exact iron dose
it needs. Oral supplementation depends on the amount of food or
water the piglet consumes - or does not consume - and therefore
carries a risk of the piglet receiving either too little or too
Choosing the right strength
It is recommended best practice to give your piglets a full 200
mg dose in a 1 ml iron supplement injection. This means you only
need to give your piglet one dose, which saves you time and
minimizes the risk of leakage observed with 2 ml injections. And
minimizing leakage ensures no iron is wasted - and each piglet gets
the full dose of iron it needs to grow and be healthy.
The injection site
There are a number of possible injection sites on a piglet, but
it is normally recommended to administer an iron injection in one
of the following places:
- Behind the ear
- In the hind limb/ham muscle*
- In the inguinal fold
* This is not recommended by some
veterinarians due to potential risk of damaging the ham
There are two ways to injection iron: intramuscularly (im) or
subcutaneously (sc or sq).
- Intramuscular injections are given deep into the muscle with a
relatively long needle - up to 20 mm.
- Subcutaneous injections are given just under the skin with a
shorter needle, normally 10 mm.
Please note there recommended injection site can vary by
countryare national variations of recommended injection site.
Consult your veterinarian for advice.
To keep your piglets safe, check that the injection site is
clean and dry before administering iron. If the piglet's skin is
dirty or wet, the injection site should be wiped clean and dry
Convenience of collapsible plastic vials
First, collapsible plastic vials are much lighter than glass
vials, something that users appreciate after numerous injections in
one day. Second, the vials gradually collapse when the iron
supplement is injected. This prevents air - and the bacteria in it
- from being sucked into the iron solution. As a result, you know
that your piglets will never be exposed to a bacteria-contaminated
iron solution. Finally, plastic vials are non-breakable, so they
won't shatter when dropped on the floor.
Disposable syringes and needles
Disposable automatic syringes and needles are the best option
for administering iron to your herd. These typically come ready to
use in sterile packages, and you can discard them after one or
multiple uses. If a syringe is used more than once, it must be
thoroughly rinsed in hot water after each use. Disposable needles
should be changed after each litter, or every 10 treatments.
The right needles
Needles can sometimes break off in the injection site. So we
recommend using traceable needles. This ensures that the pieces of
metal will be detected at the slaughterhouse - before the meat
reaches the consumer.
We also recommend you use a 0.9 x 9-13 mm (20 GA x 3/8-1/2")
needle for newborn piglets.
Find out how iron supplementation can help optimize your