Pork: Farrowing

Our two gilts, Toppy and Floppy are sisters and both spent time with a Large Black Boar named Templeton of Caton Acres fame.

Templeton didn’t quite have the how-to of his role over the summer, apparently, because one afternoon recently Josh noticed that Floppy was definitely not “settled”. She was loud and jumpy and screaming “MATE ME!” We made a quick (and slightly desperate) call to our friends at Caton Acres and through a quick cooperation among farming neighbors borrowed a truck and trailer and got Floppy over to Templeton speedy quick.

Templeton has had some practice since we last had him here at Woven Meadows and if Floppy isn’t pregnant now …. well, I’d be impressed.

But Toppy is another story. She’s smaller than Floppy and just as lovable – or perhaps more so because she is definitely settled. We noticed that her previously flat belly is now lined on both sides with sacks to hold milk for upcoming babies. We’ve read that this is an indicator of piglets arriving within a week or two. We’re not certain when she bred (unlike Floppy!) so she has a due date range. When we saw her body preparing for her piglet’s arrivals we frantically pulled books off the shelf for a quick review on farrowing (pig birthing). We’ve read it all before but never farrowed piglets on our farm before.

As with everything – some of the information is helpful, some is sad (docking tails?!? ugh.), and all of it adds to our arsenal of information should we need to assist Toppy. I am hopeful that she will be a competent mother to her brood.

In preparation we moved her to the chicken barn. It’s warm(ish – it’s still January in the North Country, after all) and there’s wonderful soft bedding to root around in. We laughed as she dove into the dry bedding sprinkled with chicken litter before providing her with a thick bale of stiff hay for her to make a nest with (which the chickens promptly fell in love with also). Before leaving, we made sure to give her lots of scratches behind the ears – which lead to her falling to her side in relaxed bliss on the soft bedding.

Love this girl!

And tomorrow Floppy is returning to our farm for us to fall in love all over again with her!

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