Jolie the Adoptive Sow
Above is my latest effort at beating out Hollywood in the cinema. In this movie Jolie’s demonstrating nesting behavior – something I’ve heard quite a few questions about. There are subtitles for those who don’t understand Gruntgorian or Onka. The movie is about Jolie who is a most excellent sow. It also stars one of her friends Goose who is a live-in companion and narrator for the documentary film. There are also guest appearances by other members of the herd.
Why is her name Jolie one might ask… It is very common for sows to co-nurse. Jolie took it further accepting many piglets from other mothers this winter when we had a clustering of farrowings that left us short of nesting space in the winter gardens. At one point she was nursing eighteen piglets.* Other than rearranging the furniture (hay) she’s been completely content with her brood – imagine if you had a dozen or more little ones scampering about your feet and always hungry! Thus Jolie got her name for adopting offspring from hither and yon like her actress namesake. Now she too is in the movies.
Above is a YouTube.com movie of her nesting and below is the transcript of the subtitles from the video. I have not tried to do a literal translation from Onka or Gruntorian but the text does convey the gist of the dialog. Fortunately we did have Goose to narrate because Jolie was talking with her mouth full most of the time and can be difficult to understand at times.
In addition to being so good with the piglets she’s also a very gentle and good natured sow with people. She literally lives outside our back door.
[Big Pig & her piglets.]
[Jolie at den entrance in atrium garden.]
SugarMtnFarm.com – Vermont Pastured Pigs
Jolie is a an excellent sow.
She raises her own piglets plus a half dozen that she adopted from other mothers. Here Jolie is taking apart a hay bale. She gathers mouthfuls of the rowen and spreads it in her 7’x7′ nest within the atrium garden as Goose watches. Nesting is a strong instinctual behavior. Good pastured sows nest strongly. They place their bodies and the hay to protect their piglets. They create a bowl shaped nest that has walls keeping the new born piglets in the safe area as well as warm in the micro-climate of the nest.
[Blackie & Petra belly to belly with piglets between them.]
[Mouse by a hay bale in spring with piglets.]
[Saddle nursing piglets out in the south field.]
[Jolie nesting under Goose’s supervision.]
Warm Season pasture farrowing is the easy way where the sows simply go off to the margins of the fields and build their nests of grasses, sticks, stones, leaves or dirt. Nests are typically built in some sheltered area such as under brush, trees, banks and such. Four days to a week later they come back to the herd with a sound of piglets behind them.
Act III: Winter litters are more challenging. The best sows can handle all seasons. In cold weather we provide hay and wind protection in open sheds in garden paddocks through the deep winter snows.
Act IV: Still
[A sound of piglets in the main garden shed.]
[Archimedes, the herd sire and eldest boar.]
[Little Pig’s piglets on September mosses.]
Visit http://SugarMtnFarm.com for more stories and pictures from the farm.
At the film’s premier opening we were fortunate to be able to interview Jolie with the assistance of her interpreter Goose.
Walter Jeffries: Has being in the movies changed you in any way?
Jolie: Grunt, grunt, grunt, snort.
Goose: She says, no, that she is still the same person she has always been, perhaps more glamorous and beautiful than ever, more abundant but still, she is Jolie, a simple woman.
WJ: You no longer look so skinny as you did in your appearances last year. Has being a mother helped you with your weight problems?
Goose: She says she has never had any weight problems!
WJ: I’m so sorry. Perhaps I can rephrase that… Do you feel that you have grown?
Jolie: Grunt, grunt, uh, snort.
Goose: Yes, definitely. Caring for all of these wonderful little ones has helped me to grow myself, to find my center, to expand.
WJ: Are the rumors of marital strive between you and Basa true?
Goose: No. Absolutely Not. I never want to see him again.
WJ: How do you feel about the upcoming awards ceremony?
Jolie: Grunt, grunt, grunt, grunt, uh, hu, grunt, snort.
Goose: She says she is pleased to be picked as a finalist but that it was not her alone but all the little people who scurry about her feet that make it all possible. And Goose. She couldn’t have done it without Goose.
Goose: It’s true! Don’t deny it!
WJ: Do you have plans for any films this summer?
Jolie: Grunt, grunt.
Goose: No, she plans to take the summer off and vacation in the south, to go to the paddocks and work on her tan. This filming schedule has been grueling. She wants some time to rest, relax and get off in to the bush country. To find nature and herself again.
WJ: Well there we have it folks, straight from the Goose’s mouth.
Outdoors: 17°F/12°F Sunny
Farm House: 59°F/48°F
Tiny Cottage: 57°F/52°F
*Jolie weaned a total of 23 piglets in this nursing period, at one point having 18 piglets on her. It was a shifting group.