California Farrows

California came out of the pasture five days ago in order to set up for her farrowing.  Tuesday evening she kicked from the red hut the two smaller sows with their piglets and began building her nest.  The two homeless sows found warmth in Gronkle’s hut where all the piglets now cuddle between the three mothers.

DSCF4445 piglet pile up on sows

California took all day to bring in hay and make a thick, dry nest.  Last night around 10:00pm she gave birth to her first piglet.  By 2:00am, Dave came to bed saying she had had 6, but was not being careful to stay off of them.  We were not hopeful that many would survive.   I was pleased to have 7 healthy piglets greet me when I entered the hut this morning.

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California didn’t seem entirely finished and had squished 4 to death. Another one is now warming by our fire, but I doubt he will survive.  7 out of 12 in a warm hut on a cold night isn’t a stellar performance, but she did manage to make a good nest.  Over the next few days we will watch to see how many more she squishes so we can decide whether to keep her or make her into sausage after these piglets have weaned. It is a farm reality that bad mothers have to be culled. Mothering instincts are genetic, and if we want to strengthen our herd we need to stick with careful mothers.

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California finished her delivery with two more piglets, but the last one out had died in the birth canal. Final count: 14 piglets, 8 living.

The older piglets are curious about the newer piglets, but they kept their distance.

The older piglets are curious about the newer piglets, but they are keeping their distance.

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