Thursday, November 28, 2013

Piglet Mania!

well .... new life has been added .... our pig, Lucy, gave birth to a fabulous litter of piglets.

the journey to this point has been pretty challenging.  facing the world of first time pig birthing was pretty daunting.  as each day passed and we saw her belly grow, we kept wondering when???  when???? when??????  just watching her waddle around, heavy breathing, lumbering to get cooled off in the heat was enuf to make us feel very sorry her!

oh good grief!  would you have those piglets already girl!  

because it was our first adventure into pig raising, i read up heaps ... and heaps.  did all the text book comfort things of patting her belly when eating and stroking her behind the ears .... talking to her.  all this to ensure that she was comfortable with us being around the piglet when they were born.  discussed what to look for with farmer friends here who have done it before so we were ready for the big day.  what kept coming up was the key things to look for in a pig about to farrow.

  1. nesting .... gathering up all the straw she can find to build her warm and cosy nest to have her babies.  this would indicate that she was about 24 hours away from farrowing.
  2. loss of appetite.  not wanting to eat because all her energy was going into preparing to give birth.
  3. when gently squeezing her teats if milk discharges that means she is hours away from giving birth.
did she nest?  nope!  
did she have a loss of appetite ... not a chance .... ate like a horse the morning she gave birth.
any milk discharge? not a drop.

so it would be no surprise then that hubby went out to do the morning feed and said she is big ... but no signs yet .... and when i went out that afternoon with the kids there were 10 little piglets getting cozy with mama!

it's 36 hours later and we've lost two piglets.  not sure if it is because she rolled onto them, or because we had an unusually cold night.  either way .... those sorts of things are to be expected as part of the natural cycle when you choose to raise your animals in a more natural, pastured way.  she is a good mum though ... and is now eating heaps to keep up that fabulous milk those babies need.

so, we are on to the next leg of this adventure .... growing the piglets and keeping them safe (i reckon for the next week they will still be vulnerable to a predatory bird that hangs around and the inevitable fox).  we move to our 100 acres in 3 weeks (yeah!) and at that point we'll begin the weaning process .... but mum will help with that as she is ready to help them grow up.  teaching them to feed out of a creep and taking solid food .... all that fun stuff.  will have to see if they break the stereo types with that as well!

oh .... and all that stuff they tell you to do about stroking her belly, feeling her nipples, talking to her during the last stages to ensure that she is comfortable with you around the piglets?  well, she got that one right!

a friend on FB said that she reckons the kids will have a hard time eating one of them.  ... hmmmm maybe .... but they'll get used to the process.