Plans for catching up on housework and picking green beans went by the wayside tonight as soon as the girls ran in the house saying, “Sarah’s got milk!”. I went out with them to have a look, to find that she had pushed open a gate, crawled under the corn crib, and made herself a dirt nest under there to deliver in. A half dozen fresh eggs coaxed her out so that Matt could wire the gate shut. After many vigorous attempts to get that gate back open, she gave in and did it our way and nested in the cattle shed.
It’s really cool to watch a sow giving birth when she’s free to move around and build a nest. I’d only ever seen one birth in a crate. In between contractions Sarah would get up and fluff up her nest.
Then all of a sudden she’d flop down and push out a piglet.
She would also walk over and check on her already-born babies in between contractions. It’s interesting to hear her “talk” to her babies. Just like cows have a special “moo” they use to talk to their calves, sows have a special grunt they use to talk to their piglets.
Our job was to keep the piglets out of her way while she was nesting and delivering. Matt quickly constructed a corner “creep” by screwing a couple of 6-foot boards across one corner and hanging a heat lamp overhead. As each one was delivered Matt snatched it up, cleared its mouth and nose, and placed it in the creep.
The labor team
A piglet, literally 30 seconds old
The piglets are unbelievably spunky. This one, only a couple of minutes old, is up, walking around, trying to climb stairs.
After about 2 1/2 hours of labor, we have 8 healthy piglets! More pictures to come, of course