I write this post in the quiet of the living room. Kids and the Mrs are at church. I don't have it in me to go today. Alone with my cold coffee, hot computer and the gentle sound of two grunting piglets in a box at the other side of the room. How shall I explain?
OK, so it all started innocently enough. Saturday I tried some farming, but busted a bit I needed (PTO shaft) about 30 seconds after every farm supply store closed. Well, I was hot under the collar, but I got over it. Take the day off. I can call it my sabbath she says. Fair enough. Some friends of ours came over for dinner and the last of my farm implements (which have been on vacation helping out a friend down the road) came home. We fed him too. Got a ton of pictures of the piggies doing cute piggies stuff. Big Momma let Matilda's piglets try nursing on her. Big Momma won't have babies for a month yet, but this is a good sign. Pictures of this are on this posting. Later on Daphne let Olivia's piglets try nursing on her. Daphne should be due soon. Predictions of her labor were premature, her "milk fat" isn't even in yet, so it'll be a day or so.
Swinehilda was seen sort of nursing her new babies.
All was well. So I thought.
Then Sunday come. Good thing I rested yesterday.
So up at 5 AM, make some Jo and go check on my babies. Well Matilda's babies (who can hardly be called that anymore) and Olivia's (from Tues) are looking good. Not so much for Swinehildas. First off she is using the heat lamp and sitting on half of one of them. She seemed somewhat indifferent from the start, but this was nuts. I shove her off and take toll. One more dead. Two getting there and two somewhat ambling around. I think they look starved. I cobble up some warm goats milk and try feeding. The two wigglers eat like they've never eaten at all. The two gimps will swallow but not nurse. I collect them all, scold this lazy momma and get them to the house.
Long and the short of it is that I have two bottle babies and that's all out of Swinehildas litter of 10. The pig book says that the little ones need to nurse withing 4 hours. If they don't get colostrum, they're pretty much hosed and will never thrive and probably ides in the first couple of days. Wife thought 'Hilda was not nursing them, I guess she was right. The thing I saw last night was probably just two weak piglets catching her on her back.
From here on out all my babies are getting 2-4 mil of goat colostrum (we have it fresh and from the store) as soon as we find them.
Good news is Swinehilda farrowed 10. Unfortunately this don't mean much if she won't care for them. She'll be in the freezer if she repeats this with the next farrowing.
OK, so next I send a couple of kids to grain the mommy pigs and throw in the AM hay to those that need it (alfalfa). A few minutes later I look out the window and see Matilda in the hay field. My oldest daughter was not minding her gate when she went to look for additional feed pans.
No biggie, as Matilda trotted back to her pen (and her babies when she heard me coming down).
Now I find that most of the critters have not been given their hay. So I and my eldest start to feed hay. All is well, until she decides to leave the gate to the buck (and now boar) pen open while tossing in some grain. Sir Francis (who did not want to be in that pen in the first place) decides to go for a stroll. So now I and my wife get to coax the fat luggard (300# big wandering pig) back to the pen. Took a minute, but he's sweet and my little boy so he tolerates a lot of pushing and prodding from me.
Ahh...peace at last. Oh wait one of the kids plugged the toilet. Nice. Oh and the water is running in the hall and UNDER THE WALL AND INTO THE LAUNDRY ROOM. I clean up, plunge and cuss. A lot. Our house is a berm house on a concrete slap. The drywall is about 1/2 inch above the floor, so no wall damage. I pull the moldings and stab the framing. No give. Not rotten. Maybe not the wort day ever. Yet.
Next I'll charge the pressure tank. I think I'll avoid power tools thought.
Sigh. Gotta feed my piglets. Again. Argh.