Sows Gestating in South Field Shed
Gestation in pigs is about 114 days, or three months, three weeks, three days as it is commonly said. Some people add “at three in the morning” but that’s a bit too precise given that it is plus or minus a week and I’ve found the sows don’t tend to farrow in the wee hours any more than the day.
These ladies were bred by Spitz, our Berkshire boar from the north herd. They were recently moved to the south field. For their winter paddock they have access to one of the bays in the south field shed which is an open shelter.
Open shelters are important. It is better to have no shelter than to have a closed in shed or barn because in poorly ventilated spaces gases like ammonia that build up which are not healthy for the pigs, or us, to breath and can cause lung damage. With open shelters they always have fresh air. This is just like your home or office – you want good ventilation for your health.
The deep bedding pack warms from the composting action. I like to use hay rather than straw because the hay is nutritious and the pigs eat it as well as sleeping on it. In fact, it is a little bit of a struggle to get it built up in the fall as they’re eating it down all the time. Sometimes we start with a bed pack of wood chips to build up the base before adding hay on top.
On an interesting side note, I just updated the numbers in Keeping a Pig for Meat. The costs of just about everything have gone up since I wrote that article seven years ago.
Outdoors: 24°F/14°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 65°F/62°F
Daily Spark: “Plaid!” screamed the cross guy with particularly colorful language.