Flop’s Winter Farrowing

We haven’t had any litters of piglets for October and November. Now there are about five sows that are all close to popping, or farrowing as is the technical term for when they have their piglets. Interestingly, quite often the sows will cluster their pregnancies. Flip, Flop & Flo – three sisters, along with Blackie and Saddle should all give in the coming weeks.

This is Flop with her eleven piglets. She is the first to go of the current cluster. She started having piglets last evening around dinner time and was done before we went to bed – perhaps two or three hours of labor. The piglets are now about 12 hours old. Now they are scappering around if a little wobbly. Flop is in our atrium on the end of the hey shed which is open to the south giving her and the piglets protection from the north west wind and the warming rays of the sun.

Flop shows her Yorkshire heritage along with possibly the Glouster Old Spot or maybe Landrace which give her the name sake ears. She is a daughter of Big Pig (sow) and a most excellent mother.

The cold does not bother them much. What they need is protection from the wind and plenty of dry bedding. The sow provides a 103°F heating pad – her body. She paws together a fluffy nest in the hay and positions herself with her back against something, such as a pile of hay or the wall, so that during labor the piglets naturally tend to end up on her belly side where they can get their first drink of her rich milk. By the time they get to a teat they are all cleaned off and dry from rubbing on the hay. It only takes them about a minute. Nature is amazing.

Outdoors: 7°F/-1°F Sunny, Windy, 3″ Snow
Farm House: 52°F/46°F eH1m Cabot
Tiny Cottage: 54°F/39°F eH1m, Sump drain & cement

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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8 Responses to Flop’s Winter Farrowing

  1. John Collis says:

    Congratulation on your new piglets!

  2. They are so cute. My pot-belly pig, Dali, paws up a nest for herself in the hay in her own private section of our hen house. We don’t get the kind of cold you do, but I can tell she moves slower on our chilly California mornings (only about 20 to 25 degrees).

  3. Lisa says:

    They are so cute!! Glad Flop is a good mother with that many babies.

    Just an ignorant question, though. The side wall in the pen is low. Doesn’t Flop try to climb out?

  4. Lisa, it’s not a pen for the sow but rather an open shed off of our atrium. If Flop, the sow, wants to go outside the three sided shed she just walks out the front (south side) into a garden area. So far I haven’t seen the piglets follow her out but they will in a couple of days as they become more adventurous. Perhaps today.

  5. valereee says:

    OMG, they’re so cute! I can understand why people think they want a pig as a pet! It’s hard to believe they end up weighing hundreds of pounds.


  6. Lisa says:

    Thanks Walter for the pen illumination! I thought it was a birthing/bonding pen to keep them all together and prevent other animals from getting in! Shows you what I know!

    I see you weather is pretty dang cold! We are having freakishly warm temps (75+ today!) I believe Tasha Tudor has been quoted as saying that in Vermont, you have 9 months of winter and 3 months of “bad sledding.” Is this true?

  7. RuthieJ says:

    I love pigs and especially baby ones! They sure can squeal loud, though for such little guys.

  8. Val, aye, it is amazing. See the photo on this post.

    Lisa, on the housing, take a look at Sunday’s post which has more photos and details. As to the seasons, there’s Winter, Spring Mud Season, Spring, Summer, Fall, Fall Mud Season, Winter, Winter. The sledding is not so good in the summer although we have had snow every month of the year – not that it stuck!

    RuthieJ, yes, they certainly do have high volumes – air raid siren replacements!

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