Grunt if You’re Alive

Dead to the World

Don’t you hate going out in the field and finding someone head down, feet up, bloated and dead? Well fortunately she isn’t. She’s just pregnant and relaxing in the sun, getting a tan on her belly. She farrowed a few days later, giving birth to eight beautiful piglets, adding to the North Field’s 36 new piglets.

Sometimes though you wonder. You start to walk out to poke them with a toe and then finally they twitch an ear or crack an eye open as if to say, “Who you talkin’ to?”

So grunt if you’re alive!

As a point of interest, as you can see clearly in the photo above, yes, pigs have belly buttons. This photo also shows what a gilt looks like from below a few days before she’s ready to farrow. You can see her breasts coning up as she bags and her teats become longer. A gilt is a female pig who has not farrowed yet. Once she has her first litter she’ll be a sow. Miss vs Missus. Check out the FAQ for other fascinating porcine facts and terminology.

Outdoors: 78°F/58°F Sunny, Distant Thunder
Tiny Cottage: 76°F/67°F

Daily Spark: “Life without friends would be like a BLT without the bacon.” -Iliana F.

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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9 Responses to Grunt if You’re Alive

  1. Eileen Matthai says:

    Wow, all I can say is I’ve felt like that before…lol
    Nice looking gal, makes it easier to see how well placed their teats are, eh? :)

  2. Daniel says:

    My first thought was definitely a dead pig…something every farmer dreads seeing!

    14 good teats but only 8 piglets. What do you average for litter sizes? I know confinement systems will aim to fill every teat and then some, but do you have a certain litter size that you select for?

    • This is a Tamworth gilt which we purchased as part of a group this winter so litter size is something that remains to be seen in that herd. This gives me some new genetics to play with. She was bred to the Tamworth boar Hamlet. Next she’ll breed to the Bershire boar Spitz. Typically later litters increase. She’s doing a good job of mothering. People tend to fixate on piglets birthed but the real question is pounds of pigs finished. That we’ll know more about after she’s had a few litters. It’s a process and takes time to figure out how this groups genetics are like.

  3. Stacy Dopp says:

    I know the feeling. I have a york boar that will sun like that playing dead to the world . Hope she turns out good for you.

  4. Janet Ives says:

    She does look happy sunner herself! Ah the life of a pig!! Something that amazes me about your farm is all the lush greenery. The photos of the pigs on grass and eating it. When I have seen pigs outdoors they are rooting everything in site up. Pig paradise on sugar mountain! Beautiful!

  5. Jessica says:

    Walter, I love your site and have read just about everything you have on here including comments!

    I am wondering what your pigs do in the rain? Do they stay out, or do they seek shelter? Do you have enough shelter for all the pigs to get out of the rain?

    Our two have outgrown their shelter of hay bales and plywood and have knocked it down, and we have not been able to renovate it yet. They seem to be ok in the rain that we have had the last couple days, but I feel bad for them. New shelter is coming this weekend, but should I feel bad for them in the mean time? They have pretty good shelter from the groups of trees in their small pasture, but I still worry!

    • Remember not to apply your feelings to the pigs. They like rolling in the mud. To them it is a goodness. Likewise they seem to enjoy rain. A light rain doesn’t bother the pigs at all. They are out grazing in it. They like water. The smaller pigs tend to seek out the shelter of brush or one of the dens, lean-toos or other shelters we have scattered around. The roaster and larger pigs don’t tend to go to shelter unless it gets to be a really hard rain and then they’ll generally seek out the shelter of brush. We have a lot of trees and brush in and on the edges of our pastures. I purposefully leave these patches because they do provide shelter. It is really the hot sun that causes the pigs to seek shelter rather than rain.

  6. Jessica says:

    Thank you Walter. I am glad to have some confirmation that they will be ok in the rain for a bit. I definitely don’t have “feelings” for the pigs. It is just my nature to want to give every animal here a good quality of life. I am used to horses who are a bit more high maintenance!

  7. Sean Govan says:

    Fascinating photo. I never looked at the bellybutton of a mature pig before. I see its size doesn’t increase proportionately to the size of other pig parts. Makes sense, I guess–ours don’t either.

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