Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Now It's Piglet Watch

Posted by Simon

Our second sow has had 4 piglets yesterday - so now we have a total of 13. We are now paying the price for making a slight error of judgment with the breeding plan - we didn't have one!

Just under four months ago, without thinking through the consequences, we put both sows in with the boar. It suddenly dawned on me that this was not a good idea and that the plan should be to have piglets at different times which obviously means putting the sows in at different times.

Rosie and I rushed back down to the pen to remove number 2 sow. Well it was very noticeable that we were a little too late. I could see no way of stopping a very large boar from doing what only comes naturally to him without him being rather disgruntled. And asking him to stop, however politely, seemed a pointless exercise. Although we did move the sow later we now know it was a case of shutting the gate after the horse has bolted!

So here we are on cold December day with a mum who has decided to 'nest' right near to the door of her barn and under the ladder hatch to the floor above (a 2 metre square hole). She was shivering as was one of her off-spring, who also we had not seen suckling. Our first idea was to move the nesting site away from the draughts but we have found out it is impossible to re-house a pig - even a couple of metres.

The next idea was to put plenty of hay bales around her and block the hole above and any other gaps. This seems to be working, the pens are much warmer and the piglet is suckling, although we are still a little concerned about it.

Unfortunately this sow now has a slight infection and this evening we tried to give her an injection of antibiotics - away from the piglets. One not happy sow with a tough hide, one bent needle, one Simon with scrapped knuckles (down the wall) caused whilst trying to hold sow - one syringe still full. Tomorrow I think one of my first jobs will be to build some form of pig clamp as we have to give her 5 doses.

And the other 9 piglets all seem to have settled in well, getting bigger by the day and a couple of them were even seen venturing out on a cold winter day.


  1. Haha....you think you have problems!! We let Jack our Large Black boar in with THREE sows and then he jumped the fence and got in with the two Middle Whites....

    We have the Scanner Man coming on Friday to confirm all our worst fears, we know two of the Large Blacks will be farrowing over Christmas and then we will have to wait and see.

    Musical pig arks we feel will be the main game over Christmas, as we locate the expectant mums to their own quarters.

    Lesson learnt, stronger fences and better planning next time for us.

    Hope your little ones do well. We use a 'Masterject' for injecting all our pigs, expensive to buy but it pays for itself in no time with no blunt needles and wasted medecine.

    Sue xx

  2. Musical Pig Arks - ha ha - good luck!! Mum pig is doing fine now - no infection so no need for further injections, thank goodness


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