Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Pigs update! New Arrivals!

Yesterday morning, December 13, 2016, I went out to feed all the animals and found that our mama pig had her babies! Pretty exciting!

Five little wiggly babies in a nest she had made from cedar branches and limbs that we had provided her about a week ago. We could see the time was drawing near by how low her belly was hanging and how large her teats were getting. This is her first litter, and I hope she has many more in time to come.

These pigs are half American Guinea Hog and half Potbelly. They are slow growers. It took about 9-10 months to raise them to sexual maturity for breeding, and it will take about that long to raise any for meat. The boar probably weighs about 200 pounds now, while the sow probably weighs about 125 to 150 pounds. Not large at all, which is very good for a small homestead hog where only a couple of people will be handling the butchering instead of taking them to the processor. This size also give me a manageable amount of meat to can.

Anyway, today, December 14, 2015, I go to feed and check on them and sadly find one little piggie dead. Another is in distress. We wound up putting her down. No hope. So, two girls out of the litter didn't make it and my son says he thinks the other 3 are boys. Bummer. I’m pretty sure she laid on them.

The other 3 are up on their feet and fairly active, though, so they should be ok. I still need to take a close look at them to see if there are any girls. If there are any boys, we need to castrate them in a few days to make them ready for butchering later or to sell. We will probably keep one girl. I admit, though, I’ve never castrated a pig so I’m going to be really studying this to keep it as quick as possible. I know I’ll need an extremely sharp blade for it.

Pig gestation is 3 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days. But we didn’t notice her being bred so it was just a guess whether she was or not. Once the babies can be weaned, she’ll go back into heat about 3 days after the weaning is completed. But, they’ll stay with her about 12 weeks, so it won’t be anytime soon.

Here’s a picture of the 5 just hours after they were born.

Here’s a video I uploaded to YouTube to give you a better idea.

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