Seven Silly Sisters – Ladies in Waiting
These gilts were recently bred and are gestating, that is to say pregnant. They lounge around on their bed of hay, snuffle in the fresh mud of spring and dance on the last traces of snow.
Behind them is a maternity suite, a 8’x12′ stall in the south field shed where an older sow had a large litter. Peeking through the doorway you can just make out the piglets back in their lit creep. I am wary of heat lamps but we had some intense cold and wet so in addition to doing the lamps for the chicks we set them up for piglets.
The maternity suite is setup with a doorway that the sow can defend so she can keep other sows from coming into her space. In the warm weather the sows would go off to a private space along the borders of the fields in the brush but winter lacks such amenities up on the glaciers. Everything is white, wind swept and barren. Dens will do but if sows who are at different states nest together they may crush piglets. Thus the defendable door.
The raised portion of the lower part of the door keeps piglets in the stall while they are little so they don’t go wandering away. By the time they’re big enough to jump that stoop they should be fine frolicking about.
The 2x’s slip into the slots in the concrete pillars to make walls and the door sills rise up or down easily so we can adjust for different sows and piglets. By having the doors open the sows can get out for food, water, exercise and socializing. It makes for less work for us as well.
Outdoors: 41°F/37°F 4″ Snow
Tiny Cottage: 63°F/58°F Fire
Daily Spark: A little bit of knowledge goes the wrong way.