This is the mean white-faced pig. So named because she is super protective of her piglets. So much so that it's actually pretty difficult to work with her. She weighs around 500lbs, and is a pretty good mother.
We normally have move the sow into the barn for farrowing -- at this time of year it's no big deal to do pasture farrowing -- it's warm and dry -- but in the barn we have a chance to watch the litter and make sure that things are ok with the sow as well. We also lose fewer piglets due to mom laying on them, or predators, or weather, or all of the other things that kill small pigs. We had her in the barn, but she broke out and made her way into the bushes, were we found her the next day.
She is super protective; at this point she's pointed at me and woofing. Clear warning behavior...
..."if you don't back off I will frigging EAT YOU!!!" is the translation. A few calm words and a little patience...
...and a dish of feed, and suddenly I'm off the predator list for 30 seconds and on the
"oh, he brings the food" list. She's happy about the food while she eats it.
she likes the food bowl; it's a happy thing for her. She'd like to take it back to her nest, but then remembers that I might be a piglet predator, and drops it, putting herself between the piglets and me.
I creep a little closer to get a count, and look at the pigs condition. All seem fine. It's actually a pretty good setup. There's a log back there that allows the pigs to get under it and be safe from mom squishing them when she lays down. Good deal.
one, two, three..
five, six. A small litter size, but typical for my berkshire sows. They all seem skinny -- they were born yesterday, and that's how they look, but they're active and alert and nursing. So far so good.
Goodnight, mean white-faced pig. Sleep well piglets.