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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Swine Update

Some readers have asked me about my pigs. It was nearly two weeks ago that the duroc sow, Ruby, gave birth to a litter of piglets.

(Click on photo to enlarge)

This sow is Babe. I have decided she is not pregnant. I guess that good looking boar chap from Club Porcine, lavished all his attentions on Ruby. Babe, if she was pregnant, should have had a litter by now. So this is what a really healthy sow looks like. I remember how thin she looked after her last litter. Free range feeding as well as my twice daily ration of grain suits her well.

Since Babe is June's pet (I let her keep one from Ruby's first litter.) I guess she will be an unproductive guest over the Winter. I will try to have her bred so that she has a litter in the Spring.

This is the largest piglet. She looks really good for not being quite two weeks old. They are still nursing.

Here is a pig pile of six piglets. The piglets have been adventuring outside their pen and shed.
When they feel threatened they scurry back into the shed to mother. I believe the two small black piglets are the one's I rescued, took into the house to warm them up and then returned them to their mother. They remain smaller than the others but are very vigorous.

One of the distasteful things that one is supposed to do at this time is castrate the boar piglets. OUCH! It's a male reaction. This is done without any pain killer. As one person holds the piglet by the hind feet securing it between his knees the other person takes a razor and cuts the scrotum between the testicles. One at a time the testicle is pulled until it snaps loose. When finished a little medication is sprayed on the wound and the piglet is let free. They heal really quickly.Well this is how the government literature instructs how to do this procedure.

I have never actually done this. I am opposed to castrating piglets. "Let piglets keep their balls" is the title of a supportive article on Radio Netherlands website. The Europeans are ahead of North America in concern for farm animals. The European Union for example is moving to having egg producers only have free range hens. In this article it reports two food chains are going to only sell pork from uncastrated hogs.

The argument is that if you do not castrate boars the meat has a very strong taste. Some think it tastes like swine urine. (I don't know how they know, I have never been tempted to drink swine urine.) The truth is , as the article points out, strong tasting pork is a rare occurance.
So my little boar fellas will be keeping their 'jewels" (as well as their tails). They grow faster when not cut. This is a bonus.

Here is Heidi enjoying a few extra ZZZZZZZ's. She is luxuriating with my duvet. I just had it dry cleaned (at a dreadful cost). I can't stop dogs and cats from having litters in the middle of my bed.

Oh! about Heidi and the pigs. She does not attack the full grown sows. I guess she knows they out weigh her by six or seven times. I have not introduced here to the little piglets although when I brought the two little black one's in I think she was curious about them as she is with the kittens.

Now for the bad news. I shipped the young pigs from the last litters. I was having difficulty selling them privately. Sadly, the Runt had to go too! If it is any comfort for you who disapprove, I lost my shirt on selling them. There is a glut of pigs on the market although you would not know it by the price of pork in the stores. (They have slaughters 10% of the breeding herd in the province to try to bring the price up. (Commercial producers have just killed the piglets at birth rather than raise animals they will lose money on due to the high cost of feed and low price, on the hoof.) The government paid to have the meat processed and it was distributed through the food bank to those who have having hard financial circumstances.


At 2:29 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Philip, hello there, I loved reading this but for some reason I can't see the pics so I will have to sneek a peek at work tomorrow. I love hearing about the pigs and so does my daughter. (and my boy if the truth be known!) How lucky is June to get a piglet!

At 7:36 p.m., Blogger KGMom said...

I too am unable to see the pics. Wonder what happened?
I am glad to hear that Heidi has made her temporary peace with the swine population.

At 9:06 p.m., Blogger Anvilcloud said...

I see the pics with no problem.

Does the dog ever wake up?

At 11:14 a.m., Blogger Janet said...

Heidi obviously thought you had the cover cleaned to accommodate her.
I'm sorry about the piggies - I didn't realize how depressed that market was.

At 2:09 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah there they are!
*eyes water as I think of the pig castration*
You know Philip, you have to do what you have to do, people will always have their own views and most will respect yours.
Glad I cam back for the pics.... Heidi looks very comfy.

At 8:10 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

So if you don't castrate the boars, do you cut the pigs teethe so they are not so hard on the mother? The castration keeps the pigs testosterone down, which makes them less aggressive, and I can assure you they are much tastier. But each his own, and btw I don't remember my circumcision, but am glad for it.


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