Despite getting up bright and early last Saturday morning, I was still caught out by the slightly early arrival of Sissy’s litter. According to my calculations she wasn’t due until that night at the earliest but apparently she had other plans and had done most of the hard work by the time I checked on her at 6:30am
However when I first tried to open the shed door I could see there was a single tiny, cold piglet well away from the heat lamp and blocking the door from opening. Luckily we have another entrance to that shed so I was able to get in and check whether it was likely to survive. At first glance I didn’t hold out much hope as she was hardly moving but being a lifelong optimist I felt we had to try.
The almost lifeless piglet was immediately named “Sick Note” and put into intensive care using our previously successful methods. It’s nothing fancy and doesn’t involve expensive equipment, just an insulated bag with an ordinary hot water bottle wrapped in a towel at the bottom because the most urgent thing is to warm up the piglet. If you can get that far then the next step is to get the newborn to suckle from the mother so they get the best start possible.
Within about an hour she was very obviously recovering and must have been stronger than I had originally thought when I first found her. Before long we were able to put her back in with the others under the heat lamp and by midday she was happily suckling alongside her litter mates as if nothing had happened (on the right below)
In the end it was a smaller litter than we had hoped with only 5 alive and 2 born dead but with pig breeding you have to take the rough with the smooth sometimes. Having saved one this time around I realise that it’s important to recognise the successes because they definitely help when dealing the inevitable tougher aspects.