My very first batch of piglets have arrived. One recent sunny morning I noticed that my bred gilt, a mutt hog bred to a Large Black Hog/Berkshire boar, was laying down and not getting up for breakfast. Then I noticed a bunch of movement around her. Holy crap, I thought, it has happened. It was farrowing morning. She was at day 120 in her gestation, as far as I could tell from my notes. I went and grabbed my coffee and came back to find 5 healthy black little piglets jumping all over the momma, and nursing occasionally. It was beautiful. I did not see the birth but it had happened without event. Soon she passed all of her afterbirth and I felt calm.
The next day it was going to be stormy so I was nervous about their comfort. I set up a simple hog panel shelter, with two metal panels on top. I gave the momma couple more bales of hay right outside the shelter. She had eaten a lot of the hay I had previously given her. Later on in the day she had a great nest built, and I felt more confident that all would be well. After a stormy night I visited her and all the piglets were active and doing well.
Now they are growing in leaps and bounds. Soon I will need to castrate the boys if I choose to do that. I will also have to consider training them into electric fencing within a few weeks. I am very surprised at how robust they are – so small yet so resilient and playful. So many lessons to be learned from the realm of the pig.