Baby pig season has begun here on the farm. Tuesday, Miss Charlotte, our happy little Hereford cross, delivered ten live babies without incident. It is always a good day when someone delivers babies without incident. Last year, we had so much drama in the barn with deliveries and losing mama pigs; this was a welcome and refreshing turn of events. The Bibbed Wonder runs around like a nervous expectant father, gathering towels, iodine, shots, and electrolytes for his porcine princesses when they deliver. It doesn't seem to matter how many litters we have; there is always excitement for new babies of any species.
The Bibbed Wonder and The Bean spent the afternoon in the barn caring for Charlotte and working on getting the little piglets off a strong start. Jordan is like a piglet whisperer when it comes to helping baby pigs nurse. She sits and patiently holds them until they decide which teat they will choose. Once they choose, she sits and holds them until they have a round little belly, and she knows they are full. Once they have eaten their first meal, she places them gently under the heat lamp, where they promptly fall asleep. Interesting fact, a piglet will choose the same teat to nurse from and return to that teat each and every time he or she feeds. Even if we try to get them to move to a more productive teat, they will return to whichever one they have chosen. Nature is fascinating.
For as mischievous as Miss Charlotte is, she is a calm and careful mother. She moves so gently and cautiously the first week or so after delivery. To date, she has never squished one of her babies. However, once she decides the babies are big enough and has had her fill with being a gentle mother, she does not hold back. Baby piglets are busy, obnoxious, and never stopping in the pesky department. Charlotte refuses to leave them even for a few minutes now. However, in two weeks or so, she will be tossing them about like ragdolls, hitting them out of the way of her feed bowl, and standing at the door expectantly to take a few hours break from them. I believe motherhood is the same for many species...sigh. There are days when I have appointments to attend without my bean, that I take a long way home to prolong the peace and quiet. Like Charlotte, I get tired of nonsense and shenanigans.
My little bib overall-wearing mother hen goes out to the barn every few hours to check on Charlotte and the little ones. He frequently takes treats to Charlotte both to spoil her and bribe her into going out for a bit. It does her good to get up and move about even if she doesn't want to leave her babies. Eric also takes the opportunity while mama is out to pick up and check all the little ones. Although all the mama pigs trust and like their farmer, if a little pig is squealing, she will forget about her relationship with him and protect her baby. Another interesting fact, if a baby pig is squealing, all the female pigs go into protective mode, even if it's not their baby. They will also do all they can to protect each other if they perceive someone to be hurting one of them. Pigs are large, fierce creatures with very sharp teeth. I walk a very wide circle around them.
Thankfully, all is well here on the farm. All our mamas are doing well, and our babies are thriving. As a farmer, one can't ask for more. We are indeed appreciative of an uneventful birth and healthy, happy babies. If you follow us on Facebook, you will be kept abreast of all the births and happenings. Be prepared to be inundated with pictures of cuteness. The Bibbed Wonder loves an opportunity to show off his pigs.
Enjoy this Friday's eve, dear reader. As always, stay safe, stay smart, and keep washing your hands. Hopefully, with a nice smelling, natural goat's milk soap...insert wink.