Borning Piglets and Dying Piglets

More piglets arrived last night.  When I went out for the evening check, I counted the sows and kept coming up one short.  So after beating the bushes, I walked out to the far end of the field and found this gal nesting up.

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She picked a pretty spot to farrow, right under a wild apple tree..

Apple blossoms are starting to wither.

Apple blossoms are starting to wither.  It seems that we just skimmed by the frost warning the two last nights by a degree, so things are looking good for a big year for apples.

On my way through the rest of my rounds, I found a one-week old piglet from another group alone on the ground, barely moving.  Normally a piglet would scream its head off when picked up, but this one only made tiny croaking noises.  I brought her to the house and gave her some water and wrapped her in a rag.  Piglets this weak rarely can be revived.  My plan was to rehydrate her, feed her some milk and eggs, and then get her back out to her litter mates as quickly as possible.  She only lasted for an hour before dying.

Piglet in the intensive care unit.

Piglet in the intensive care unit.

After I went back outside to check on the farrowing sow, she already had a few piglets out.  The sun was setting, so I wasn’t able to photograph more.

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Just born.

Just born.

This morning there were eleven live piglets.

This morning there were eleven live piglets.

There is nothing uniquely tragic in the birth and death of piglets.  Some days we encounter more deaths than births and it seems that Bob Dylan was right to warn that “he not busy being born is busy dying”.  But Bob Dylan tends to focus on the pessimistic side of things.  For as much as I enjoy his music and the musicians he inspired, I’ll suggest that gloomy singer-songwriters spend time sitting down with a group of playful newborn piglets.  I think anyone would have a hard time creating a sad song after fifteen minutes with piglets.

2 Comments on “Borning Piglets and Dying Piglets

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