Happy Mother's Day!

To our Moms, Kelley and Renie,

Who taught us about patience, caring, and compassion,

who's unconditional love gave us the courage to be different and follow our own path,

(knowing they would always be behind us, every step of the way)

and who will soon be the most amazing Grandmothers (!) to our baby, We love you!

Happy Mother's Day! You mean the world to us.


Saving a Piglet

On Saturday I wrote about Bianca's farrowing and the fact that one of the piglets didn't survive. I learned from the piglet's death that piglets are extremely fragile when first born, highly susceptible to cold, and if not immediately cared for will most likely expire through no fault of their own. 

I wrote Saturday's post in a kind of stream of consciousness. It helped a lot to get it out on paper and force me to think about it. Immediately after I published the post I went back out to check on Bianca, who was still laboring and was expected to birth another 4-5 piglets over the course of the next hour or so. I wanted to bring more hay and food for her, and to check on the rest of the piglets to see if any of them needed help. 

Eileen had yet to see the piglets, so we jumped on the ATV and headed out to their paddock. First thing we saw upon arriving was a lone piglet covered in afterbirth under a tree. Bianca was with the rest of the litter in her nest. Five piglets were with Bianca. We knew that little piglet under the tree didn't stand a chance on its own and it was already on the brink of death, most likely unable to survive if we simply placed it back in the nest, as I had done with the last one.

So we took her inside and gave our best shot at nursing her back to health.

Here is what I learned:


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Ossabaw Piglets

It's spring on the farm and we've got babies poppin' out everywhere. Today Bianca farrowed her litter of piglets. Of course, she chose a day where the high temp has been 50 degrees and it's been pouring rain. She looked ready yesterday, so I figured today or tomorrow would be the day. I've been bringing the gilts (female pigs that have not yet farrowed) a bale of hay everyday so they could build their nests and stay dry in all this rain and unseasonably cold weather. They eat a lot of the hay, so it's important to keep them well-stocked.

Piglets nursing

Around 9:30am I went out to feed everyone. Rain gear in full effect, hood covering everything except my nose and eyes. I lumbered up to their paddock in the forest, Bianca and Petunia running around like usual, grunting voraciously as they awaited their whey, eggs and hog feed bonanza. Bianca looked about the same as the day before. Her belly hung a little lower, but really how much lower could it get? Her teats almost touched the ground.

Bianca the day before farrowing

I emptied the rain water out of the feed dishes and Petunia nibbled on my jacket sleeve. Hog feed first, then the whey, then the eggs. I think that's the best sequence. I glanced up at their A-frame to be sure it looked dry and full of hay and what...? Three piglets! Oh sh*t! It's pouring rain, nearly freezing with the wind chill, and here's three baby piglets. Bianca is out eating, the piglets are running around and appear to be a little cold. One is clearly fresh out of the womb, still covered in after-birth. Bianca wants nothing to do with them, she's entirely focused on eating, which will take about 30 minutes. 

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