My Little Farm Family Has Grown
Last night, it happened. My two sows farrowed.
I went to check on them at 2:00 AM, as I have been doing for a couple of weeks. All was quiet, two sows sleeping. I went again at 5:00 AM and, BINGO!. . . . both sows had litters making an appearance.
This is Babe and her family. I count 15 in total. One I removed and have in the house. It was very tiny and not competing very well for a tit. For a first time gilt, Babe has done herself proud.
I expected 9 or 10 piglets for a first time.
Ruby had problems. The piglets were scattered around the pen and 4 were dead. Four others seemed cold and weak so I took them to the house to warm up and get some personal attention.
Six remained with Ruby for now. She had 14 all together with 10 survivors. This was Ruby's third litter and I expected her to do better. She seemed stressed.
I will be returning to her the four I removed. I will also transfer three of Babe's piglets to Ruby. The piglets will all do better without having to compete as much for a tit.(Or should I say "teat". My refined English grandmother always referred to teats rather than tits which allowed one to discuss such things in polite company)
It is always disappointing to lose piglets; but, four out of 29 is not too bad. As close as I watched them I still was not with them for the beginning of the births. Perhaps, i should hang a hammock, for me, in the shed next time.
Below are four of the five piglets I took to the house to get warmed up and fed. One I returned to Ruby already. The little one third from the left is the runt of Babe's litter I removed because it was having trouble competing for a place at the titty bar.
Here is a good sample of the piglets. The first one on the left is large. It is brown and white. The black one is representative of the seven black and white ones in Babe's litter although it is the only one of that colour in Ruby's litter. And, there are white ones in both litters. I have a good chance to have the 25 piglets survive. They are at risk of being hurt every time the sows get up and lie down again. They seem to be managing this fine so far. If they remain calm they usually show great care to avoid laying on their young.
The four below are being fussed over my my housemate, June, who tends to love little critters to death. (Some may remember the drama with my baby rabbits.) For now, she is warming them on her ample breasts and feeding them with a baby bottle. I think her husband, David, is enjoying them too. He grew up on a farm and seems to delight in the animals. I shall be taking the piglets from her as soon as I think they are strong enough to return to their mother. I expect she will angle for one as a pet. That is how she got Babe. But a 700 pound sow does not make a very cuddly pet! Pigs can be house trained. . . . . . . . . . . . . .soooo! NO!!!!!
I hope you enjoy the pictures of the piglets.
God is merciful! It turned out the temperature today is above freezing rather that below -30C as it was last week. It would have been so much harder with the temperature so cold.