Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Piglet update

The piglets are getting pretty big; big bouncing babies.
Drinking water, playing with each other

When they sleep they burrow into the hay. There's a piglet in this picture; you can see the top of her head and ears.
When they're coming at me they're grunting a greeting. Grunt! Grunt! grunt! they greet the pigs outside of their stall when they walk by, too. I'm an honorary pig

So I stepped into their pen to play with them a little bit. You play with a piglet by wiggling your fingers and letting the little pig nibble at your hand. they explore with their mouths. When it gets a little closer you can scratch its ears or its back. the first time you touch it it'll run away, but it will be back soon. They're curious little critters.

Pretty soon the other piglets will be over to see what they're missing. The goal is to get the little piglet to flip over and wave all four of its little legs in the air as you rub its belly

mom comes over to check out the fuss. She's pretty protective of the piglets, but knows me and lets me handle them.
This chicken is over to check out the piglets too. The chicken has decided that when the piglets group up it must be for something good to eat. The trouble with this theory is that sometimes mom eats the chicken.
Ok. After a play session it's time to eat. OH NO!!! ONE OF THE PIGLETS IS NOT ON THE PROPER TEAT!

4 comments:

Jason said...

I know you've posted about your decisions on farrowing method and the disagreements that exist among the different methods. So, I'm curious. What was your mortality rate? And what will you do in the future to try reduce it? Do you know what typical mortality rates are for "wild" pigs? (It just doesn't seem logical to me that nature would select an animal with the propensity to kill it's own young through negligence at a rate on the order of 60%.)

Also, what do you do with the ones that didn't make it? Feed to the dogs or hogs?

Bruce King said...

If the piglet died of causes that I can determine; like it's squished flat under the sow, the dogs get it. If the piglet dies for reasons that aren't clear, I compost them to ensure that there's no issues.

In an earlier post

http://ebeyfarm.blogspot.com/2009/02/farrowing.html

I listed some of the survival rates. Those are for live pigs that get weaned -- they don't list how many piglets were actually born live and died before weaning.

For summer farrowing my rate is pretty good; about 90%. My rate this winter has sucked; maybe 30%. So I'm changing my husbandry to see if I can't get better survival rates.

Scott at Real Epicurean said...

Very cute pigs, great to see someone treating their animals well. I'd get so attached if they were mine, that's why I trust people like you to breed & look after them, I'll just do the eating.

Kim said...

Well, Scott, I agree, babies are so easy to attach to, but we found that when those male babies start maturing, and the homones and the smell and the behaviors start up, it's just easier to remember the next batch of babies will be coming soon, and these now 'old geezers' will have to make room for the cycle of life to continue. Yay! for new life and new babies!!