The piglets are reaching that stage of maximum cuteness which will last for a month or two. This is what Piglet in Winnie the Pooh must have been modeled after. Pink with dark little eyes, perky ears, roly-poly round bodies, wrinkled noses and dancing around. They now run up to me when I come out, hoping for some treats, a bit of bread or maybe some garlic laced yogurt. They now venture far from their winter farrowing dens with the deep beds of hay and follow me around the open garden levels. Sometimes I must be careful where I step as they scamper around my feet on the ice and snow. They are mixing in with the older pigs in the herd although until now at night they still return to their mother’s sides.
The vast majority are the typical white with upright ears – classic Yorkshire pigs. A few have black spots like the one in the middle of the photo above. There are even a couple of handsome red pigs in the bunch, a testament to some interesting extra variety in the boar’s background. I wish I could explore the red variety but we don’t have enough breeding stock to focus on raising up that many varieties. So I focus our sows on conforming to the Yorkshire style with the knowledge that there is a bit of hybrid vigor in there too. This is good for the genetics and produces better pigs.
Today was weaning day. The piglets are now four weeks old. The sows had already started to wean the piglets themselves. This morning I discovered Saddle Pig and Big Pig sleeping way off in the lower road garden where they could get away from the piglets. Both of them are drying up although not completely yet. They will in the next three days because today Holly and I closed off the access to where they had farrowed the piglets. Now the sows are back with the main herd and the piglets remain in the farrowing dens. The deep hay in the farrowing dens and the fact that they have almost sixty other piglets to snuggle with will keep them warm through our cold winter nights.
Over the past weeks we have been providing increasing amounts of bread, yogurt and cottage cheese to the piglets. It took them a few days to get used to the idea and then they were delighted with the additional food. They still nursed on their mothers but the added calories made an obvious difference in the weight of the smaller piglets. For the last five days we’ve been adding garlic powder to their rations to give them a worming. See the article about natural worming back in the fall.
Today three of the piglets left Sugar Mountain Farm and headed for a new life on another farmstead. They are very lucky piglets – in seven or eight months they will hopefully grow to become breeders and live long lives. Since they were to become breeders I picked out the finest, prime piglets. Within a week or so the other piglets will be headed for homesteads and small farms where they’ll grow big on summer rations. Out of this batch I’ll be keeping the couple of smallest ones who are too small to be sold as growers but can raise up on our summer pastures although a bit slower than their larger brethren.
Why bother repeating mistakes when there are so many new ones to make!
23째F/3째F, Light snow flurries in the morning, Sunny, light winds