Torn Piglets


Torn Piglets North Home Field – Click for Desktop Version

Piglet fix! This photo is actually from back before the recent snow hit when Torn had her new litter of twelve piglets in the north home field. It is a reminder that the world sometimes comes in other colors besides white. Right now I’m hoping the white will melt. I’ve still got ‘get-ready-for-winter’ stuff to do. That is always the case. Probably it could be no other way since we push to do more no matter what. I’m not sure if it’s that half our year is frozen in or just that we have things we want to do.

Outdoors: 55°F/43°F Cloudy
Tiny Cottage: 70°F/67°F

Daily Spark: Sows Ma Hall – New name for our South Field Shed

About Walter Jeffries

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12 Responses to Torn Piglets

  1. Nance says:

    I count 9 little piggies. Were there more? less? So pretty, what a great color combination . . . pink, brown and green. I love those piglets! (but my love is in direct opposition of the piglets size — the larger they grow, the less I love them! Sad . . . but necessary — if they are going to come to my dinner (table).

  2. Bill Harshaw says:

    Almost didn’t click through from the RSS feed: “Torn piglets” conjured up images of bloody disaster.

    • Ah, I hadn’t thought of that mental image! Torn’s the mother. So named because when she was a mere 250 lb gilt an older sow picked her up and threw her, by her ear. That resulted in a tear in Torn’s ear and thus her name. We tend to name pigs after characteristics like color (Blackie), markings (Soviet who had the Soviet flag on her butt and Charlie who has a mustache like Charlie Chaplin) and famous people (random or characteristics e.g., Angela and Jolie who were so into adopting other sows piglets as well as raising their own). Not all pigs get names but some earn them. The longer they’re here the more they need a name because we need to refer to them and communicate about them.

  3. David Lloyd Sutton says:

    Walter, a question: For years I’ve heard that piglets on the ground tend to be immune to anemia, while piglets on concrete need iron injections just to get along. And I know you don’t clip eye teeth, while all of the farmers I’ve talked to who practice the crate farrowing, clipping, tail docking regimen talk about keeping the sow’s nipples from being scratched and bleeding and argue for clipping as a humane practice. It’s occurred to me that perhaps some blood to go with the milk is a naturally evolved anti-anemia strategy. Seems likely that the majority of piglets on the ground would be free of clipping, and so just being on the soil might not be the only reason anemia gets avoided in those animals. I’ve never had a farrowing sow. From your experience and observations, any opinion?

    • You’re correct about the ground piglets not needing iron shots, provided there is iron in the soil. Selenium and other minerals are also obtained that way.

      The teeth that some farmers cut are very quickly worn dull so there is no need to cut them. We rarely see any scratches on the sows teats from the ‘wolf teeth’ as they’re called. Perhaps again because the piglets are on the soil and have hay to chew they are wearing the tips off. Damage to a sow’s teats is very rare.

  4. David Lloyd Sutton says:

    Thank you Walter. Shows to go you how a misconception can get passed along as fact. I’d never thought all those folks were talking about something they hadn’t witnessed. Hope your white stuff has receded a bit for your closing-up drive. We’re in the middle of a leaf storm. Actually saw my breath the other morning. Horrendous. I actually started wearing shoes rather than flip flops this last week.

  5. June Gaucher says:

    hi Walter, been a while since we came looking for answers, but have found ourselves in a new learning experience. We had been tracking our 2 year old gilts heat for 3 months. November 8th and 9th we brought the 2 girls (duroc, landrace? and large black/tamworth) to the 2, 7 month old boars (goaps). We figured we would know for sure if they were pregnant if they didn’t go into heat in 21 days or so, and they didn’t. But recalling your post about the pregnancy indicator has me wondering. They’re pointy things are not up. If pregnant they should be about 20 days into it, so would they’re pointy things be up by now? As always, thanks so much

    June in Maine

    • Did you see them mate? Was it a quick in out or a long hug goodnight? Pig sex tends to be lengthy.

      The pointy thing can vary somewhat pig to pig and with age. As a sow gets older she becomes stretched from pregnancies for example. So seeing how the pregnancy indicator is pointing takes some experience and particularly knowing your own pigs. That said, I have had the experience of a sow who was mated, did not reheat but never became pregnant. She had a false pregnancy. We ate her.

      Now for the bad news, I have heard that if a gilt doesn’t breed in her first two years she may well lose fertility. But don’t give up yet. I would try rebreeding them. Breeding them in December, January or February will make for farrowing in the warmer months so it is worth giving them a few more tries if you’re willing to keep feeding them.

  6. June Gaucher says:

    Hi Walter, guess I didn’t do a good job of explaining “our situation”. Yes, we did see them mate for 2 DAYS they were at it. The boars had a job of it weighing only 270 pounds and the girls weighing 600 pounds. Our gilts are a year old. I wasn’t sure if the boars were fertile at 7 months. And when the girls didn’t go into heat, we were so sure they were pregnant we slaughtered the boars.

    • At seven months the boars are just coming into fertility. Maybe they can do it, maybe not. At that age they have the inclination but may not be producing a strong supply of sperm. If the gilts are now one year old they’re prime and ready. Keep watching for heats. If they have not shown pregnancy signs by January and are heating then I would rebreed or AI them for spring piglets. Good luck!

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