I was on day two of my three day plan to train our new volunteer but it all went up in the air at the arrival of tiny piglets. Both Ginger sows had milk in their teats last night so we knew piglets would be arriving within 24 hours so we had separated them using electric tape and settled them in to individual arks (they had been snuggled up together in one!).
These are both really good sows and amazing mothers so the farrowing of #1 was pretty uneventful apart from three piglets who were born breech and needed help to breath. Eleven piglets plus something which at first glance looked like a foetus but was actually alive (just). It was brought in to the house and kept warm but it soon became clear it probably wouldn’t make it, it’s body just wasn’t developed enough and it sadly died in my hands.
I spent most of the day with #1 settling her down, making sure she had milk in all of her teats and that all of her pigs had and could feed. I decided to go inside for a heat and a quick bite to eat, but quickly checked on #2. She was not a happy piggy….restless and snapping quite viciously at me. I tried to reassure her but she was having none of it and very uncharacteristically of her she made it clear she didn’t want company. When I checked on her again the piglets had started to arrive and sadly mum had squashed two! She had a further seven piglets but was far from comfortable! I was worried her frantic movements and constantly getting up and down would end up with the death of more piglets so I stayed outside her ark occasionally reaching in to scoop a piglet out of harms way. She eventually calmed down a little and I simply HAD to call it a night, I was exhausted. Hoping tomorrow finds all 20 piglets alive and well…
…other news. The remainder of the Pekin ducks we had hatched for Christmas were bought yesterday by a man who wants to breed them so they’ve dodged a bullet!