Jill of Blackie

Jill with Piglets

This is Jill, a daughter of Blackie who set a new record for piglets born on our farm last year. Thus I have high hopes for Jill. Her first littler is 15 piglets which set another record for our farm as previously the largest litters had been 14 by Flip, Flop, Flo and Petra. Jill’s a great mother and very friendly.

So why is Jill named Jill one might ask? Her mother is Blackie who had a son, the brother of Jill, named Black Jack by our sons. And logically, through rhyme and reason, Jack would have a sister named Jill. “Of torse!” as our five year old daughter Hope would say.

Outdoors: 73°F/43°F Sunny
Farm House: 73°F/65°F
Tiny Cottage: 70°F/60°F

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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13 Responses to Jill of Blackie

  1. heyercapital says:

    What awesome stewardship & husbandry you exhibit. Industrial ag would give their eye teeth to breed up to that level of fertility.

  2. Sailor says:

    Wow, what a nice litter. Jill is a winner I think. Nice to see pigs on a small farm these days. Great blog.

  3. Tim in NY says:

    Hi Walter,

    I just discovered your blog a day or two ago. Someone mentioned it on “Keeping a Family Cow” http://familycow.proboards32.com/ which is a forum I inhabit a lot. I really admire what you are doing on your farm and the work of art that your are creating with your family, farm, and home. My wife and I and our brand new baby daughter are aspiring to create something similar here in NY. We bought an old house and about 29 acres about a year and a half ago and are slowly working towards some kind of homestead/farm life. We want to generate some income from the farm someday, right now we both have to work full time off the place. I had never considered pastured pigs as a possibility before other than for home consumption which is something I want to do next year, raise and slaughter a pig for the freezer. I have a couple questions that you seem perfect to answer if you have the time. Jill of Blackie is obviously a colorful sow, but I notice most of your pigs are white. I had read that white pigs are very prone to sunburn, has this been a problem in your experience?
    Also, I saw in one of your comments on an older post that your recommended stunning with a .22 hollow-point. Having never killed a pig before, I am kind of intimidated by stories I have seen (mostly on HT) of .22 bullets bouncing off even at point blank range. What is your opinion on this?
    Thank you for the great blog, I am really impressed with your farm and techniques. I realize that one of the things we are missing is pigs and sheep. Right now we only have chickens, dogs, and a cow. Do you have a post where you elaborate on how you settled on the pastured pig business? I would love to read it.

  4. shrestha12 says:

    Kudos for Blackie giving record no of births. And sure nice rhyme name, one doesn’t forget it , easy to remember.
    Vermont Drug Addiction

  5. Nance says:

    what is the record number of piglets born to a sow?

    this many is amazing? What is your goal?

  6. Jenny Gale says:

    I currently raise sheep, but have often thought of branching out to pigs, but have been leary because of all the tales of how they trample and lay on their young, unless you use “factory” methods. We have a very humane and holistic approach at our farm and don’t want to resort to such methods. Needless to say, when I saw your site and I was delighted. Do you find that a certain breed is better at pasture raising their young and what techniques do you employ to keep the Mamma pigs off their young?
    Thank you in advance for your assistance and I love your blog!
    Jenny Gale
    Gale Farms

  7. We have had several sows that have birthed and weaned 14 piglets. One sow, Jill, had 15 piglets. Our sows have 14 to 16 teats so that is a good goal number. I have read and heard of some sows that had 17, 20, 21 and 23 piglets per litter but when that happened they lost large numbers or the people had to hand care for the piglets. Our goal is for the mother to care for her own piglets so I would rather not go to that large a number.

  8. Jenny, the sows do best during the warmer months when they can spread out across the fields and paddocks to build their own nests. There is virtually no crushing under those natural circumstances. Crushing comes from tighter quarters, not having enough room.

  9. Lighter colored pigs can get sunburn. I’ve read that down in the deep south this is especially an issue. However, they can protect themselves with mud which acts as sunscreen and going into the shade in the mid-day the same as us.

    We use the hollow point for our own home slaughter because that was what I was taught by the gentleman who had been doing it for years. Neither he, nor I, ever had a problem. The advantage he explained of the hollow point is it penetrates the front of the skull but does not exit the skull.

    We ended up doing the pigs after having tried to do sheep, rabbits, chickens and ducks. We could raise all of them, and still do, but we couldn’t make money at those. For us the pigs fit well the resources and our style. I know other people who are great at the meat bird chickens, at sheep, at cattle, etc. Seems to be something that varies greatly with the person. Try different things and see what fits you.



  10. Lisa says:

    More great piggie photos! I’m glad humans don’t have such large litters, though!

    I know it’s silly, but I’ve got something for you over at my blog.

  11. Anonymous says:

    My daughter has a birthday coming up and she wants nothing more than to be
    able to pet a pig – preferably a potbellied pig…
    Will that be possible at your farm? If not, any ideas???

  12. Hi Anonymous, I’m sorry but we don’t do petting. The pigs aren’t really used to that sort of thing so they tend to be wary of strangers. Ours are also big farm pigs and the could potentially bite.

    There is a very good place called Friendly Farm over in Dublin, NH. You can see their web site at:


    They’re all set up for kids being able to interact with animals and they have a nice picnic area too.

    I’m not sure if they have potbellied pigs but I know they did have farm pigs when we went there years ago.

    Happy Birthday to your daughter!



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