Posts Tagged ‘orphaned animals’

At first glance, the piglet near the bottom right with the face pressed up against the wall looks like his or her nose is out of joint, but it’s just the colors on its face. This photo was taken by my mom last Friday shortly after the piggies received their vaccination shots (they weren’t feeling too peppy, she said). The littlest one in front is the runt. My dad said the runt always runs up to him oinking when he goes in the farrowing house, and he scratches her back.

My dad weaned the piglets on Saturday and put the orphans and the other litter together. He weighed the biggest orphan, which is the biggest overall pig, and said he weighed 25 pounds! That’s a lot of milk replacer. The pig, which is a boar (male), is the “kingpin” pig, according to my dad, and bullies the other piggies. Interestingly, the second largest orphan is second in command. I suppose they had to be strong to survive.

My dad said he penned the sow in the barn after the weaning because it was the only place he thought he’d be able to hold her, since she’d try to get back to her babies. She lifted two gates right off their hinges in the barn and made her way out to the bull yard, which she certainly could have escaped from if my dad hadn’t found her. I talked to him on Tuesday, though, and he said she had settled down and was doing fine. Apparently it was mayhem whenever those 11 big piglets tried to nurse, so it had to happen.

Read Full Post »

I am in love with the piglets, yes, but this farm is not ALL about them. I have been starting some seedlings, too.

Again this year, I’m starting plants at my house in Duluth, since I’ve still been working my winter jobs (thank you, winter employers!) and it’s a little chilly to camp at the farm.

Here’s how the little hoophouse looked when I dragged myself out of bed this morning. I blame my friend Ron, who did several snow dances yesterday to let the universe know that he’d welcome more snow. At least someone’s happy.

It’s not all about the piglets, but that doesn’t mean I can’t post a quick video from my visit to Iowa a few weeks ago. I love the little piglet that looks so innocently at the camera, as if to say, “Who, me? I would never chew on my friend’s tail!” I’ve asked my mom for some updated photos . . .  she reported that the orphans are finally chewing on some of their dry food, so my parents might wean the litter today (I know, it’ll be sad) and stop preparing milk replacer for the orphans four times a day.

Also, we still have a few summer shares available, if anyone is looking to sign up.

Read Full Post »

Elden and I visited the piglets in Iowa this past weekend. Here’s the 2nd litter of piglets that still have their mother. When their mother is let outside, the piglets take advantage of the extra space in their pen to run around.

There are 3 orphans penned by themselves (the 4th orphan is with the other litter), and my parents let them out of their pen to feed them. Here, the piglets are very excited about their upcoming dinner.

The orphans eating dinner — despite the fact that there’s always plenty, their instinct seems to be to eat as much as possible as quickly as possible.

These piglets want out of their pen, too!

Read Full Post »

I just talked to my parents and my mom said the little orphaned piglets were getting so fat my dad actually cut back a little on the amount of milk replacer he’s giving them. That’s saying something, because my dad loves to feed animals. My mom said she’s been playing with the orphans to try to make up for their lost mommy a bit, and they’re quite tame. If the weather cooperates, I’ll be able to give a first-hand report of the piglets’ progress this coming weekend.

Read Full Post »

I’m happy to report that there are 16 wiggly piglets on the ground at my parents’ farm. Unfortunately, I also have sad news about the sow they called Bobtail:  she didn’t make it through the birthing process. It sounds like she just didn’t have good “birthin’ hips” and her piglets were a little bigger than normal. She had 5 healthy piglets and then was unable to deliver the rest, even with help. Despite 3 housecalls from the local veterinarian and a determined and sleep-depriving effort from my parents to save the mother pig, she eventually died. 

The second sow delivered 11 big healthy piglets last night with no problems, my mom reported this morning. They put the littlest piglet from the first batch in with the new babies and are feeding the other four piglets from the first litter milk replacer. At least they have a heat lamp, plenty of bedding, and each other for comfort.

Here are my parents showing my nephew, Franklin, the piglets. It sounds like he wasn’t sure what to make of them and definitely didn’t like the noisy propane heater in the farrowing house! The piglets and the Longtail sow are in farrowing crates for now. The crates give the piglets room to move around without being in danger of getting accidentally crushed by the big sow, yet they can still snuggle right up next to their momma. The sow is let out of the crate several times a day to eat and drink, relieve herself, and get some exercise.

Elden and I plan to meet the piglets in person later this month.

Read Full Post »