Puppies & Piglets

Pepé puppy is the biggest of the current litter at nearly twice the size of his litter mates Kiva and Kira. I doubt he’ll be as big as Hagrid our half giant but he’ll probably be Saturn’s size. Right now he is a bundle of energy playing with strings, bones, sticks and siblings. He has similar markings to Saturn who guards our pigs and Kahlil who is now with Joan in Mass except that they have brown where he has black. Currently his ears are still down but they should soon be erect. Like the rest of his pack he has the double fur coat that will keep him warm come winter and a bushy tail. Think snow dogs and sledding, racing across crystal mornings, rolling in snow banks…

This morning Bear Pig did not come to greet me. Nor did Archimedes the boar. Bear has been looking quite heavy, bagged up, her teats have enlarged and her vulva was swollen and pink the last three days so I was not too surprised she didn’t show this morning. Holly and I went out for a fence checking walk to the far side of the fields to see what we could find. Down in the hollow at the end was the boar keeping Bear company along with her new piglets. She only had three piglets at that point, which is a very small litter, but it looked like she may well not be done. No sign of afterbirth yet. There could be more piglets by this evening when I check her again. For now I spread a bale of hay around her and gave her a good scratching which she appreciated.

With her giving birth this brings our farrow rate up to 100% for this year. She is very late, more than a month past the other sows and this is her first litter. If she hadn’t farrowed by the end of November she would have gone to the butcher. At this point since we have the room so I’ll keep her through another farrowing to see if she does any better but I probably won’t keep her daughters for breeding. Additionally she is a bit on the chuffy side and more skitterish than others although that may change for the better now that she has birthed. Having piglets often settles a sow down.

“Learn to surf the waves of change.” -Will Jeffries

Night: 44°F, Day 51°F, Overcast am, Rain 2.5″ pm with high winds

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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7 Responses to Puppies & Piglets

  1. pablo says:

    Puppies and Piglets.


  2. Anonymous says:

    You have a great blog. I love reading it and am getting inspired to soon start my own maybe. Good pic of Pepe. He looks like he’s got quite big paws. Puppies and little children are sometimes so hard for me to photograph, because they are often in constant motion. Your “Lost Hope” entry reminded me of when my kids were little in the pre digital age. There were some really cute things they did, that I never could manage to capture on film because it was gone by the time I got my camera. -Joan T.

  3. Evelyn says:

    What's a 'normal' 1st litter size? I'll be raising Red Wattle pigs & have found a breeder near my farm that says 3 piglets is a normal first litter size. I know that many multiple birth breeds have small first litters. I've had cats that had a first litter of 2 & subsequent litters of 7. But… 3 piglets? I could understand 7, but I'm not sure about 3.
    Working my way thru!

  4. Evelyn,

    I don’t know anything about Red Wattle pigs so they may be different than ours. I have read that Pot Bellied pigs have small litters of three or so at a time. For our pigs, which are primarily Yorkshire with some Berkshire, Glouster Old Spot, Tamworth and what not mixed in, a good first litter is eight. Sows with much less than that don’t get a chance to have a second litter. An excellent first litter is 12 and we have had several sows who did 14 and 15 for their first litters and then continue to produce most excellently.



  5. Farmerbob1 says:

    Walter, it seems as if the first image has a bad link.

    And how did Bear Pig do, if you can remember one pig from 10 years ago?

    • Not only do I remember one pig but I remember her sisters and offspring. My memory’s funny like that. In any case, Bear did well although shall we say, more alert, but I traced aggression through her line and culled. One of her daughters was highly aggressive.

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