I feel like a paparazzi with all these piglets popping out all over the place. They’re everywhere! Since piglets often are piled on top of each other the photos don’t give the full variety of colors in each litter but they are is an interesting sampling, a snap shot in time of some of this weeks farrowings…
Sweetie’s Piglets in South Field Entrance
Sweetie was part of the group of sows we had been moving over from the north herd to the south field in preparation for completely reoganizing our pig herds. She farrowed right along the fence line leading back to her old domicile. We simply wrapped some hog panel around the nest she had made giving her a private space so other sows would not snuggle close and crush piglets. It is still cold enough that the sows are not going out into the brush seeking privacy to farrow so this is an issue we have to keep a careful watch on.
Some of Quartermane’s PIglets in House End Shed
There are 11 piglets there. Can you find them all? The sow, Quartermane, is a daughter of Blackie, one of our best sows. The black gene is partially recessive and showed up in two of her piglets. Color is controlled by a complex set of genes rather than a single pair. She farrowed in the house end shed with its greenhouse glazed roof – the best place on the farm. She too was part of the north herd moving south for the summer. Integration is an interesting and slow process that should not be rushed.
Isosceles Piglets in North Greenhouse Shed
Isosceles is so named because someone took a bite out the middle of her right ear. The missing chunk looks just like an isosceles triangle. She’s low on the totem pole and pigs don’t always play nice.
We had tried to get her into the greenhouse a couple of days before because she looked ever so close to farrowing but she would have nothing of it. Then when I was making early morning rounds I heard the cry of a piglet from the middle of a big pile of sows in the south field. Isosceles was farrowing in the center. I radioed up for help and we managed to move her between births. With the release of the natural drugs at birth into her system she was a little more tractable but not much.
Charley’s Piglets in Hay Cube
Charley is named after Charlie Chaplin for her mustache. She has excellent conformation and length although she’s not a perfect ten since she only has fourteen tits. Close but no cigar. Prior to her coming out she was a bit on the reclusive side but now that she’s nesting in front of the house on the driveway she’s gotten more interaction with us and is tamer. This often happens with first time mothers. Up until their first farrowing they may have spent most of their time out in the field – they’re not pets.
These are stacks of square bales of hay so that I can pick them up with the tractor and move them as groups much like a large round bale. Each set of bales is on a wooden pallet. Charley was not supposed to farrow here but she got out of the south field and found this absolutely wonderful spot, from her point of view. You can see the bales inside the tarp on the right that she knocked down to make her nest. Once she was in there I did not fight it. She had made her nest and would farrow in it. So be it.
Charley’s Piglets in Sun
Charley has a large door out of the east side of the hay cubes. Her piglets have a smaller door that leads to a morning sun porch between the pallets as shown above.
Also farrowing this week were Torn, Big Red and Oreo. In six to eight weeks these piglets will be weaners and start going to other homes as summer pigs. This is the burst at the end of a hiatus of piglet births. By my plans we would get new litters every week but the sows have other ideas. Their hormones cause them to syncronize which causes boom and bust cycles of a month or more with no births and then oodles of piglets.
Outdoors: 34째F/21째F Mostly Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 65째F/61째F