On Sunday, when we were sorting pigs, preparing to load them for butcher, we noticed that one looked like her belly was hanging lower to the ground. It almost looked like she was bagging up getting ready to have babies. We kept her back and decided not to send her to butcher. Every year we butcher one hog for ourselves and then we sell off the others. We knew that keeping her from going to butcher meant that we were going to loose our family’s hog for the year. We were willing to make that sacrific and not abort these babies IF she was pregnant. God blessed us with very large hogs this year and there would be enough. He always provides.
It is difficult to pregnancy check a pig. If they are a really tame animal you can ultrasound them towards the beginning of the pregnancy, but other than that it is pretty much a wait and see game. We had no way to know 100% if this pig was pregnant or not. We just knew she did not look right. We are fairly new to having pigs born on the farm. Normally, we buy babies from another farmer and raise them out till butcher weight. We are very inexperienced when it comes to breeding pigs. We have a boar on the farm and we had been trying to get our dear sweet sow Elsa pregnant for years. Turns out it was not in God’s plan for Elsa to have any more babies. The boar works just fine!
Going back a couple months, we had two times where the pigs busted through the gate to get in with the boar. Unsure if they became pregnant or not, we scheduled our butcher date late enough in the year that we would be able to wait and see. We had a sow deliver in October as the result of one of theses midnight rendezvous with the boar. Well, turns out the girls got in one other time that we did not know about.
The pigs were sent to be butchered on Tuesday. It is Thursday and we found six babies.
Momma choose to have babies in a huge pile of leaves. It was the best she could do on her own, but we stepped in to help her keep the babies warm. Using the insulation of the leaves we made what my daughter calls “ham in a can”. We put a metal port-a-hut on top of the pile of leaves and mixed in a bale of straw. We took more leaves and covered the whole hut like a hobbit house.
Over the door my husband built a tunnel to keep the wind out. When I crawled in the hut to check on the babies this morning my glasses fogged up. It was warm and toasty inside even though there was frost on the ground. What a blessing! I am worried we are not out of the woods yet. These little piggies are going to need extra care, being born in the winter is not easy. Praise God for blessings and the wisdom to not send her to butcher.
This last picture is just for a size reference! That is a baby piggie next to my cell phone.
Farm On! God Bless!