We haven’t had any litters of piglets for October and November. Now there are about five sows that are all close to popping, or farrowing as is the technical term for when they have their piglets. Interestingly, quite often the sows will cluster their pregnancies. Flip, Flop & Flo – three sisters, along with Blackie and Saddle should all give in the coming weeks.
This is Flop with her eleven piglets. She is the first to go of the current cluster. She started having piglets last evening around dinner time and was done before we went to bed – perhaps two or three hours of labor. The piglets are now about 12 hours old. Now they are scappering around if a little wobbly. Flop is in our atrium on the end of the hey shed which is open to the south giving her and the piglets protection from the north west wind and the warming rays of the sun.
Flop shows her Yorkshire heritage along with possibly the Glouster Old Spot or maybe Landrace which give her the name sake ears. She is a daughter of Big Pig (sow) and a most excellent mother.
The cold does not bother them much. What they need is protection from the wind and plenty of dry bedding. The sow provides a 103°F heating pad – her body. She paws together a fluffy nest in the hay and positions herself with her back against something, such as a pile of hay or the wall, so that during labor the piglets naturally tend to end up on her belly side where they can get their first drink of her rich milk. By the time they get to a teat they are all cleaned off and dry from rubbing on the hay. It only takes them about a minute. Nature is amazing.
Outdoors: 7°F/-1°F Sunny, Windy, 3″ Snow
Farm House: 52°F/46°F eH1m Cabot
Tiny Cottage: 54°F/39°F eH1m, Sump drain & cement