Piglets Aplenty: Simultaneous Farrowing

We were nervous yesterday when we found a piglet dead and ripped apart in the field.

We knew it had to be California’s and we were disappointed she had abandoned it.

pigeatingpiglet

This concern deepened when we found a live piglet abandoned.

allieandpiglet

She wasn’t fully developed and died shortly.

This morning I combed the field to find any evidence of birth but came up empty.

We began making arrangements for “Bad-Mama Sausage” out of the sow,

thinking she had eaten her piglets like she did back in March

during the snow storm farrowing.

But another check a bit later showed she was building a nest.

caligrass

Gronkle has proven to be a good mother,

and she was already entrenched in her birthing bed.

gronklenesting

While Gronkle showed her rank and displeasure to curious younger pigs,

gronklechasing

she welcomed California.

gronkcaligruntnest

After several checks, Dave called us out around 3:30 to view the first two good piglets born one to each mother minutes apart.

gandcpop

Mostly, they took turns shooting out the babies,

afterbirth

and by 7:30 the last piglet and afterbirth slipped from each.

That’s the story, but I want to show you even more pictures.

Gronkle took several bathing breaks during her early labor.

Gronkle took several bathing breaks during her early labor.

California delivered an immature dead piglet that the kids' called JellyBelly.

California delivered an immature dead piglet that the kids’ called JellyBelly.

watching3

birthing position

birthing position

The piglets don't seem to recognize a single mother.

The piglets don’t seem to recognize which is their mother.

Here you see them on Gronkle while California has another.

Here you see them on Gronkle while California has another.

We wanted a boy from California to raise as our boar's replacement.  Since we weren't sure how California would mother her piglets, we encouraged this one to get to know Gronkle immediately.  Later it became apparent that wasn't necessary.

We wanted a boy from California to raise as our boar’s replacement. Since we weren’t sure how California would mother her piglets, we encouraged this one to get to know Gronkle immediately. Later it became apparent that wasn’t necessary.

the male piglet

the male piglet

birth1

birth2

birth3

birth4

birth5

birth6

birth7

birth8

The small black piglet seems to be blind.  Dave set up a hay bale barrier to keep it from wandering off.  It made a good seat while we waited too.

The small black piglet seems to be blind. Dave set up a hay bale barrier to keep it from wandering off. It made a good seat while we waited too.

whispering

whispering

farmer

pigletupclose

fave

17 piglets in all. 9 female and 8 male.

Did you enjoy this post?ย  We would enjoy hearing your response in the comments below.

13 Comments on “Piglets Aplenty: Simultaneous Farrowing

  1. Hi guys – fascinating – we envy your operation – Tom and Darlene Baker from the “old days” in KC.

  2. Absolutely fabulous! Not being a farm kid, I love seeing, and learning from, the process. What a wonderful upbringing for your kids. Hi to Dave and the little ones.

  3. I read this during breakfast. Lol! You guys looked like you had a fun day!

  4. Brings back memories of calf births and kittens…. didn’t know pigs birthed in litters. So neat they had birthing buddies and could be each other’s doula:-)

  5. I LOVED this post! ๐Ÿ™‚ I think it’s really neat to see how different animals birth their babies (but then I also am interested in being a doula at some point, so my thoughts may be a little biased). ๐Ÿ™‚

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