I can remember thinking at the time I did the AI on the pigs that the gestation period (roughly 3 months, 3 weeks, 3 days) seemed to be such a long time. Despite the apparent success of my first ever, amateur efforts I still somehow couldn’t imagine that the end result would actually be some healthy, active piglets one day.
As it turned out, my early planning and preparation for the event particularly relocating them both to an outbuilding near the house well before the due date really paid off. Yesterday (a few days ahead of schedule) the first pig – Sissy – got down to the business of farrowing with no encouragement from me.
In the time it took me to do the rounds of a few mole traps (no moles were hurt!) and get back to the house, she had already produced the first piglet. Although there had been no obvious signs immediately beforehand, the piglet was fortunately spotted wandering among the straw so I could move the other sow back to the woods. This allowed the new mother (and me) the space to ourselves so we could concentrate on the task at hand.
This first piglet arrived at about 5:15pm and we eagerly waited to see more, expecting them to arrive at roughly regular intervals. However despite lots of huffing and grunting the minutes ticked by until a couple of hours had passed with nothing appearing so we started to fear the worst.
Obviously the first one piglet wasn’t aware of this concern and it must have thought that 1 piglet to 12 teats was a pretty good deal!
Thankfully around 2 hours later, nature decided it was time to get things moving and she eventually delivered 4 more piglets between about 8pm and 10pm. All were delivered with no help from me apart from a quick wipe with a towel and a spray of iodine on the navel just to be safe.
In no time they were all clamped on to the “milk bar” and a little peace descended interrupted by the sound of wet sucking noises and contented grunting from the piglets. Equally important to me was that the mother has handled her first litter well and seems to be providing for them while staying calm with me bumbling around in the background.
While I might have liked to see a few more in the litter, I’m happy that all 5 were born healthy with no problems and everyone survived the first night. They probably got more sleep than I did…