Even the best of us can get caught out by our pregnant sows. Three of my Saddleback pigs gave birth outside in the fields during the spell of fine weather. It was fascinating to witness the natural birth in the sows chosen place, which was a nest made from reeds they gathered. While the indoor Saddlebacks farrowed on straw beds. Two different nesting materials but essentially the same technique.
In the field the sows had individually built a large mound of reeds, being the only building material available and farrowed overnight. They had picked areas away from the other pigs in the field. All was well with two of the sows but the third farrowed too near a beck and all but one of her piglets drowned.
This sole survivor was taken off the sow and adopted by another sow back at the farm. Interestingly, not my first choice of sow offered as a surrogate to this little wanderer! Not satisfied with his new mum, after a long suck on a teat,he was off, causing chaos in a pen of growing piglets and 4 sows some 30 yards away. I heard the commotion from 50 yards away and said to Harry my grandson “that piglet is out”.
Fortunately we were able to rescue him before being trampled and offered him to another sow with 8 three day old piglets. The sow immediately greeted him and after a brief pig discussion lay on her side and offered her full teats to him and her litter. All is well and with the other sows who farrowed outside, who were brought back to the farm with their litters.
All this was explained fully to the folks on the recent pig keeping course, which took place on the hottest, sunniest day of the summer so far.The next pig keeping course in August is already fully booked,so please try to book well in advance for our Autumn programme.
We are planning a new one day course in October in conjunction with Aireys Butchers, which will all be about assessing and feeding pigs for slaughter. In the afternoon we will visit Aireys who will give a cutting demonstration.