Hope Petting Piglets
We make an effort to socialize the piglets. One important opportunity is when they’re weaning. Hope, above, is doing one of her morning chores – piglet petting. Pigs that have had some human contact are much easier to work with as they grow. Before you realize it they’re 250 lbs. The ones we keep for sows and boars will soon hit 500 lbs, 800 lbs and even over 1,000 lbs in the case of the biggest boars. Taming them early is especially important. That interaction time gives us a chance to see which piglets have naturally friendly dispositions.
This little cutie pie is named Brownie. She’s an especially good looking piglet and quite friendly. I may well keep her back – that is to say, keep her to join our breeding herd. She is from Blackie‘s latest litter, born in the South End Shed this spring. Her mother Blackie has done the remarkable deed of having three large litters in one year while still keeping her Rubenesque figure. A sow is considered exceptional if she can have 2.3 litters per year averaging eight piglets weaned per litter. Blackie’s beat both those scores by a long shot with 30 piglets born in less than one year. I’m very impressed.
A Sound of Piglets
These piglets are a few of the piglets from four different litters that are in the South End Shed right now. Sows do very well together if they’re farrowing at very similar times and the weather is not bitterly cold.
In the far back is Pirate Peté, a lady buccaneer so named by my sons for the black page around her eye and her black beard.
Snort! Petra Checks Runt.
Petra is checking out one of her adopted piglets. A gilt in the north field herd had farrowed in a bad place. She wasn’t a very good mother and is very skitterish so we moved her abandoned piglets in with Petra Pig’s litter. Petra’s an excellent mom. Maternal abilities are highly heritable thus we select replacement gilts from the best sows. Goldie, the guilty gilt of the north field is headed to market, to market.
Brownie is very photogenic and was giving me lots of opportunities to get her best side. No, try the other side. Ooo… maybe this way. Perhaps she wants to grow up to be a calendar girl.
Brownie and a Runty Friend
One last pose with her adopted brother. The other piglets made the littlest ones from Goldie’s litter feel right at home. He’s a tough little guy and fits right in. Hopefully he’ll gain weight and soon be looking good.
Outdoors: 53°F/38°F Mostly Cloudy, Light rain at times
Farm House: 65°F/59°F
Tiny Cottage: 70°F/61°F