So the sow decided to farrow on Sunday, and as luck would have it she had no complications. The first two delivered after lunch followed by another nine in the late afternoon-early evening. The other four came sometime between midnight and six A.M. and although I am not sure which ones qualify as hardy and which one is the runt of the litter at this point, sow and piglets seem to have made it through the the experience unscathed. It was a bit cold yesterday, just above freezing and windy, so while the children watched the first couple of piglets squeal in a box under a heat lamp I put up a tarp in the opening of the shed to keep out the chill. The hard part was separating the gilt from her last litter from the sow. She didn’t want to leave and almost crushed the first two piglets running in circles around the pen trying to avoid me. I had separated them earlier using electric but she got through the fence. Eventually I lured her out with some slops and got her moved in to the other half of the shed and by dark she was buried deep in the haymow with only her snout poking out. At close to 150 pounds she is not to be messed with and the piglets need their alone time with their mother, so everything seems to have worked out.

So far, so good.

I had contacted a large animal vet a couple of towns over earlier in the week to explain that we’d never farrowed before and would he be able to come out and make sure that everything had gone well, but when I called he acted so weird on the phone- long pauses that made me think the connection was lost, short answers to everything I said that after five minutes of absolutely painful attempts on my end to get some kind of response, I just hung up and decided I’d wing it. Which we did. Of course now I have to clip the needle teeth and make sure the afterbirth came out and other fun tasks I’d rather not do, but then I thought about Fern’s father in Charlotte’s Web and realized if he could do it, so could I. Except the letting my daughter raise the runty pig, of course.

We’ll leave that part up to nature.

Final count, 1 healthy sow, fifteen healthy piglets.

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