The Bibbed Wonder is in baby piggie overload. Three of his beloved sows have delivered just weeks apart. Charlotte, my happy, smiling, funny girl, had ten. Eddie, the big, beautiful, red beauty, had eight. Nueve, a sweetheart in her own right and first-time mama, had four that survived. All the ladies are doing well, and their litters are growing stronger by the day, except for a few. There are always little ones who struggle to grow and thrive; that is just farming's reality.
Over the weekend, Eric spent much of his time doctoring and nursing a little piglet named Pooh. Eric decided to name him Pooh because he loved honey. The poor little fellow was a reluctant eater, so Eric put honey on the nipple of a baby bottle to entice him to nurse. This little trick not only raised his blood sugar and perked him up enough to make him want to suckle, but it also helped him to take in enough fluids to survive. However, little piglets are delicate. Eric believed Pooh had turned a corner and was going to make it, only to return to the garage after completing barn chores to find he had expired in that short time.
The Bibbed Wonder almost takes it personally when a little one does not make it. It is sad and frustrating to put so much time, effort, and care into something and have it not go the way you want. Three sleepless nights, temperature checks, cuddling, coddling, and nursing a little one creates a bond. Of course, one may say it's just a piglet. However, as a farmer, one is putting all of one's effort into saving this precious little life. Yes, the little one will be raised for harvest, but we always fight for the underdog as human beings. Nobody wants to see a little one who hasn't had a chance at life lose the fight. Sadly, it seems that most little ones who struggle and are removed from the litter have a very slim chance of survival.
As humans, we think of pigs as large, robust, strong creatures. The reality is, little piglets are rather delicate and somewhat fussy. It seems it is almost a month before they are truly out of the proverbial woods and strong enough to be safely out of danger. Yesterday, we found one of Eddie's little boys to be lacking. He is the runt and is tinier than the rest. One can tell to look at him that he is off. Rather than remove him from the litter, Eric decided to treat him with nutrients, medicine for diarrhea, and a dose of antibiotics. He is continuing to nurse on his own but is not as robust as the rest. It would be easier for us to pull him from his mom, but Eric feels he has a better chance of survival if he stays with his mama and littermates. Sadly, it is a bit of a gamble. Eric will do all he can for him and treat him with care and respect. If you think of it, send out some good energy for the little boy and his farmer.
This lifestyle we have chosen is challenging. We work hard, care a lot, and are gentle and respectful to those in our care, but sometimes, it is just not enough. There are days we feel like throwing in the towel. We know we could choose to live an easier lifestyle, have more free time, get more sleep, not work so hard. However, on the days when things go our way, there is nothing more rewarding. We love what we do. We love our critters like family, and we find it very fulfilling. However, two weeks in Hawaii without having to worry about what is going on at the farm would sure be a blessing...insert wink. One can dream; one can always dream.
As always, dear reader, stay safe, stay smart, live a fulfilling life and fight for the underdog, and of course, keep washing those hands.