Tuesday, July 17, 2012

the orphans, an update


I realized recently that I introduced my little orphan piglets but never mentioned them again. Good news: they made it, every single one. Not only did they survive the ordeal of losing their Mama Sow at just five days old, but they flourished. They learned in the first day of foster care to drink up every ounce of milk I dumped in their dish and then, after a few weeks, learned to gobble down the softened hog feed I soaked for hours and added to their milk. Gradually, I upped the feed and cut back on the milk. Woe is me! The spoiled little piggies would drink up their slowly diminishing ration and cry! cry! cry! A dish full of feed and nine crying babies, begging for more of the good stuff... With a bit of tough love and a great deal of piglet protest, they were weaned off the milk altogether. With a bit more tough love (and a general agreement amongst the human inhabitants of our house and yard - pigs poop, a lot) we decided to move the no-longer-so-small piglets out to the hog area, and there they live now, a little less like pets, a lot more like what they are - quickly growing hogs.

So, if anyone ever tells you it's impossible to raise orphaned piglets (I have been told this, more than once) you can tell them that's a big old load of hog shit. And remember to smile sweetly.

8 comments:

  1. This is so awesome, congratulations!

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  2. Hard work pays off with piglets it seems! Happy for you guys.

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  3. This is wonderful! Great job, Mama!

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  4. Some of the joy! I'm glad for you!

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  5. Oh, how wonderful! Good job, Mama!!!

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  6. Way to go! BTW, what kind of pigs are they and why did you choose that particular kind? We are looking to raise a couple of hogs next year so any advice you can pass along would be terrific.
    Cheers, Mel

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    1. These piglets are a mix of their Berkshire/Tamworth mother and their Berkshire father. So, mostly Berkshire, but the cross is important. We have raised some pure Berkshires, but we find that a cross of heritage breeds makes for a heartier piglet. I think the most important thing (if you're not going to get into breeding - quite a different ball game!) is to source piglets from a farmer who is raising pigs in a way you agree with, and in the way you intend to raise yours. So, don't buy piglets from a farmer confining hogs indoors on concrete and expect them to thrive outdoors. Visit the farm and ask as many questions as you can think of. Look around. Make sure ALL of the pigs look healthy and are well cared for. Let me know if you have any other questions. I'm more than happy to help!

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  7. They are so cute! I'm enjoying learning more about farming and food through your lovely photographs.

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