Yes, the little piglets are finally here!
All 45 of them…. 😲
I have mentioned to my husband about maybe getting another sow or two but he seems to think we have enough right now. 😁
So, the last time we chatted, I was cleaning out the farrowing barn and getting ready switch the barns (to get the mothers back into the farrowing barn and to move the grower pigs into the big barn).
We did it! The mothers were checking out things by Thursday evening last week.
(How in the world did I manage to get 3 of them all lined up like that?? 😆)
The growers also moved, reasonably well, through the sheep pen and into the other pen.
They are adjusting to their new pen, which happens to be on the BACKside of the barn…they no longer have access to see the rest of the main yard (dogs, cars coming and going, etc), so I make sure and walk through them regularly and scritch them and talk to them so they don’t get too lonely. Pigs are very social creatures. 😊
Ugh…the mud here lately………..but I guess that also means it’s not freezing cold anymore!
We also got a few Alcatraz-type gates and many, many feet of chain to keep Boris (Daddy Pig) away from his young female offspring. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, is NOT what I’d like to find some morning!
It’s important he doesn’t get too lonely in here (which can lead to depression and death 😯) so he can still touch noses with the grower pigs on the other side of the fence. Plus I also talk to and scritch him behind the ears everyday as well. 😊
By Saturday evening the first little piglets arrived. Then the next sow had hers Sunday morning, and then last 2 had theirs Monday morning.
And just like that, we have a whole herd of pigs!
The first one seemed to be taking awhile, but I was able to help her.
It’s just fascinating to watch how animals take care of their offspring and how natural animal instincts are in there too.
Take the picture above….each sow has 10-14 teats to feed milk to her piglets. Within minutes of birth, the piglets have not only found their way over to the food, but have picked out their own teat, which they will keep (and defend!) until they are weaned. How do they know?? Just amazing. 🥰
Overall, farrowing didn’t have too much drama…perhaps just the scene from the picture above. Somehow 22 piglets got into one pen and of course the mothers did as well. Each of the pens are a nice roomy size…for 1 sow and her piglets…it’s a tighter fit with two sows and 22 piglets. 🤨
I did eventually get them separated, although it’s a guess as to whether I truly got each sow’s biological piglets back with her again. But they seem ok, so I’ll go with it.
Every farrowing has some deaths, and this one was no exception. 😕 As far as I could see, they were all born alive (no stillborns is a great thing!) but the main cause of death in young piglets is being laid on or stepped on. A 450lb sow and piglets less than 5lbs each…. you do the math. 😖 Some sows are very very good about watching where they move, others, not so much. My sows did pretty well with only being on their 2nd batch of pigs, so although we lost a few, we lost less than we did last fall when they were newbies. So that’s good!
A couple of the littlest ones were brought into the house as bottle pigs. 😍 One was injured by being stepped on, the other just didn’t seem to want to be with the rest of the group, which doesn’t make for a long life. They are both doing well and are amusing to watch!
Hopefully they will be heading outside in the dirt/mud and sunshine sometime in the next week!
No recipe of my own this week…..although I would love to share this Crockpot Potato and Sausage Soup that I made during this busy time. It took a little time to chop up the veggies, but having a full crockpot of yummy, ready to eat soup for a couple additional meals was a wonderful thing!
From all of us here at Piggery Run Farm, with 2 feet or 4 feet,
we wish you a sunshiny beginning of March! 😘
Naomi and the gang
PS: The “Low” choice on my crockpot seems to have decided not to work anymore, so I’m on the hunt for a replacement crockpot. Do you have any recommendations? I’m looking for a large one (I think my current one is at least 10 qts) and ideally, one with an “On” light. Nothing fancy… no special design or computer controlled start/end times. But I do appreciate the “Low” setting. 😉