Friday, April 5, 2013


Apologize for the poor quality pictures, but was working in the barn today and only had my cell phone on me.  Someone asked me what sort of camera I'd recommend, and for blogging my suggestion is one that is small and light enough that you have it on you all the time. 
piglet, all grown up
 The large dark sow in the picture above is named 'piglet' -- she's been here since she was born in late 2009.   You can see her as a little pig about 2/3rds down this entry, or you can see her as a bottle fed piglet in December of 2009.   She is an experienced sow now, having produced 5 litters of piglets so far, and still going strong.   That's one of the nice things about having a blog that spans a few years.  I can look back and see things like this. 

Blue butt sow and piglets
 The sow above piglet is nursing her babies and grunting softly.  This is inside the hoop barn, but we find that the sows prefer to have a semi-private area to farrow in, so we provide the calf domes so that they can go into a smaller, enclosed space if they wish. 
A life of ease with the mothers
 The large black pig had an abscess on her foot, so she's in with the nursing mothers so that we can monitor her.  I'd rather not put her down.   I've drained and cleaned the abscess and she is using the foot more now; I'm hopeful we can put her back with the main herd in a bit. 
Small pig, big litter.  Definition of a good sow. 
This little pig did really well with her first litter.  She produced 9 piglets, all of which are doing great; the others are wandering around with piglets babies, trying to figure out who's the boss piglet.

Piglets spend about 1/3rd of their time sleeping, 1/3rd nursing, and 1/3rd fighting with other piglets.  Social status is very important with pigs and they take it very seriously, from an early age. 

When you have a number of sows in an area like this, you have to watch that the bigger piglets aren't stealing milk from the smaller piglets; there's always some of that -- the sows will generally allow any piglet from any other sow to nurse -- it can be at the detriment of smaller pigs.  So while we have these guys all in group housing, what I am working on is providing better separation of the litters.  Some sort of pig roller in the temporary shelter might do the trick.  meanwhile I just watch and make sure that everyone is having a good time. 

These three sows have 28 piglets between them.  I've got another 5 sows that will be due in the next week. 

1 comment:

SmithGang said...

Love this post. we can't find females around here to add to farm:( I did manage to get 2 herniated boys to raise one wasn't bad other we had to bbq early. son will do a show hog this fall I'm hoping to visit there. and see if I can get a sow. our back pasture is perfect for a few dad used to buy herniated ones take n home operate fattin them up n take back to sell. I thought he could teach me but his health is too bad now. so I missed out on a farm skill he learned from his vet. course no where here auctions them any more. got a very nice csa farm behind ours but they will not do pigs:(
every day is a learning slope on a farm. just today I had
a goat who couldn't pass her placenta dad says never pull one from a cow or goat. goat use half brick tie it it'll work its way out I be darn , 15 minutes after tying a clean exit he said same with a cow use a heavier brick now I don't have any cows yet but in time. this is why I've really enjoyed your blog love your farm knowledge. other than working the fences I do l the animals hubs truck driving never is here when the dramas going :) lol
the babies are all beautiful. o yeah thanks for sharing pigs like pumpkins I got everyones left overs n will be sure to grow extra now if possible for them.but wallie is this weekends wrappings hope I can find more this year.
blessings to your farm.