The day before last –

The day before your yesterday, Plonker Number Three was delivered. (One of The Fellowship is going to grow him here for her family freezer). He did not get on with the other two so he had to go into the wild card pen in the center of the barn so he could get used to the others. He was a little stressed but OK. A big boy. Then the night time temperatures plummeted, I figured he was big enough to handle it, did not close the barn up and by yesterday morning he was wheezy and miserable.  Shaking and gasping. He must have become chilled.  A respiratory infection can kill a pig very fast.  They can get to full blown pneumonia and die at a dreadful speed. I know this now from the piglet who died of pneumonia last summer.

So I finished the milking and quickly called the man who had sold me the pig. He left work immediately. Went back to his home. Changed from his suit and tie into farm gear, drew up a syringe of a respiratory antibiotic and was at my barn door within the hour.  By then Number Three was in a bad way but still standing.  You could hear his breathing from the barn doors.  Poor piggie. The man shook his head, pursing his lips just a little, then glancing sideways at me consciously loosened his jaw with his cupped hand,  widened his eyes and assuming a casual demeanor began to say soothing things both to me and the pig.  I think you may have got it in time, he said. Then he added: This happens when you move pigs sometimes. He did not add: From an enclosed warm well managed pig shed into a leaky barn. But he did add:  We will see.may-007He is a kind man. The wonderful thing about good animal managers is that they are always ready to help others.  They teach by example.

After his shot I moved the pig slowly into the sunroom pen, where there are no drafts at all and a heat lamp.  All day I made him treats to entice him to eat and drink, being very careful to wash up thoroughly before touching another animal. Slowly he began to eat a little more each time.

By evening milking time he was up and about and barking for his dinner (which was  warm milky water with an egg – poured over bread and oats – with a little oil of oregano mixed in for good measure). His breathing was still terrible but he was active and eating and knocking all his bowls about.

So I am feeling anxiously optimistic. But the important thing is that I learnt not to wait at all before calling for help if a pig looks sick. Learning all the time. And hopefully this time I learnt from the first time and this pig will not die slowly and awfully from pneumonia.may-013

He was sleeping well in the night. And hopefully is still OK this morning.  I will be out there shortly. It would be easier if the weather would warm up but this week it is going to remain cool they say.

I hope you all have a lovely day. I will let you know in the comments how Number Three is doing.

Love your friend on the farmy


ps. Each of these shots are from one spot on the verandah. Good dogs on patrol!



55 Comments on “The day before last –

  1. You are becoming quite knowledgeable about animal health practices. I’ve learned about mastitis from you, as well as the dangers of peacock respiratory infections, and now pig’s danger of quickly getting pneumonia from a change in temperature.

    Pretty soon you’ll be teaching us about the bees, right?

  2. Keeping my fingers and toes crossed for Plonker Number 3. Did you get this pig from the same gentleman who gave you Poppy? How wonderful that he came right over. Just curious. I’m sure there are numerous pig farms in your area.

    • No. Poppy’s breeder is much further away. This man lives close by and yes they love their show pigs around here.. c

  3. Oh Dear, holding my breath alongside you and Deb 🙂 Just back after 3 days of ISP server crash – grrr. Your gallery yesterday was wonderful, I kept thinking each picture was my favourite until I scrolled to the next one 🙂 Laura

  4. Good health to the poor little thing… how well you cope with all your emergencies, hope this stops being one very soon

  5. the pig seller is a genuine gentleman for stopping everything and coming to your aid. i wish there were more like him!

    • Yes. He is a good man. Genuinely cares about his animals. He keeps a very clean closed pig house. Which is necessary in this present environment.. c

  6. Nothing like a bit of a fright to really make you take the lesson in. And now you know the dos and don’ts of moving and acclimatising a young pig. You are taking good care of him, you got him treatment in time. He’ll forget, but you never will. One more thing to add to your already huge knowledge of your animals and their needs. I hope he continues to improve, and you can stop worrying so much about him.

  7. I love to watch dogs making their appointed rounds, whether they are guarding a farm like yours are or surveying the house like mine do. They are so purposeful and yet they enjoy every minute of it! Even when they’re not making rounds, they have a schedule. Mine are funny; they will be lying down somewhere, then suddenly jump up like a firecracker went off beside their ear, trot to the next appointed spot, then resume their nap!

    Hope Pig #3 feels better soon!


    • Oh I agree, my girl does it first thing in the morning then after her last toilet stop at night….she sleeps inside……but her gait is so different to during the day when she’s just wandering. She gets all stiff legged and has such a purposeful look on her face as she patrols and sniffs right to the corners and edges, I get such a kick out of watching her.

  8. Oh dear, poor wee plonker. Hopefully, Daisy’s delicious milk will aid his recovery. On the subject of pigs, Sheila is completed should you want to check her twinkly eye!

  9. That must be so worrisome, poor Number Three, I do hope he feels better. Did you have to ask the family who owns the pig if an antibiotic injection was OK? Can you butcher a sick pig safely? Sorry I don’t mean to be rude or disrespectful, I just don’t know.

    • Good questions Eva. I don’t mind. I will swap this pig with the family for one of the other two, (they are about the same age) who are laying about in their pen cracking walnuts this morning. They are healthy and drug free. It will be a long time before slaughter (months!) so the Antibiotics will be way out of his system by then so I will take him. Though without the antibiotics he would have been a dead pig by this morning. These guys have not been bred for hardiness. Hopefully he pulls through and does not have weak lungs. As to slaughtering a sick pig for food. No.. I would not do that. And if someone tried it – the local little abbatoir would not accept the pig and he would be sent back home along with the idiot who tried to have a sick pig slaughtered. This fella still has congested lungs but was at his gate shouting for his milk this morning. So far so good.. c

  10. Oh dear, you have more than your ration of problems. I put it all down to this b….y weather. I wish I could send you a weather-proof coat for your barn!
    now back to the tax forms……….

  11. You certainly have your hands full! Glad you are open to learning lots and lots. By the way – your calendar is awesome! It is now posted right here beside my desk. I get to check in to your blog’s pictures each day and smile at this month’s roosting trio at the same time! Thanks for the beauty Celi!

  12. I have been amazed at how susceptible pigs are to sickness and how quickly it can be devastating. We used to show pigs and it seemed they would always return home from a show sick. I’m glad the show days/daze are over! We finally limited it to our local 4-H fair, only, while the kids were that age. We found Gatorade was sometimes a good way to get extra fluid and some sugar/electrolytes in their system, too.

    • This fella loves him milk so he gets a slurp every few hours with warm water. I shall get some Gaterade when I am out today, thank you. Poor fella would benefit from a warm sunny day though. I heard that many people are not showing this year due to the virus. Evidently there is quite a bit of it around here, fills me with terror. c

      • I agree … I wouldn’t want to show this year even if the kids were still young enough. Warm weather would definitely help! It’s great that he has an appetite; good sign!

      • I have also used Pedia Lite when a wave of “digestive upset” ran through our dogs, it helped keep them hydrated.

  13. I really enjoy reading about how well you care for your animals!! They are all lucky to have a devoted and wonderful watching out for their care!

  14. Glad to hear the plonker made it through the night. That’s a good sign. Do they give a second shot of antibiotics or is it a one time thing? We’ve never had to give ours any but we did lose a baby to pneumonia a few years ago. It was so fast. One day she was fine and the next day she died. Praying your plonker recovers! Have a great day Celi!

    • I am to wait another day and if he is still struggling then he gets another shot. Often the first one will fix it, but I have a feeling he will need the second one. Lets hope we caught it in time.. c

  15. Part of the challenge of farming is having animals become sick and sometimes the result is that they don’t make it. I just love how much you care for the animals on your little farmy. Knowing that our future food is being loved and care for. They are being treated humanely and that is something that has become so very important to us. We can’t buy that in a grocery store. So thank you!!!

    • You are very welcome, and now I am off out to take Number 3 his mango flavoured gatorade. Hope he is in a tropical mood! c

  16. Goodness, another worry… another special needs case. I don’t know how you do it. I admire your dedication and devotion to all of your farm critters. I hope things look up real soon in your neck of the woods!

  17. I do hope that he will make a complete recovery. I never knew that about pigs I thought they were such hardy things with all that fat on them but again you have shown me that this is not so…another nature lesson.
    I shall pray for fine weather

  18. I thought seriously of giving you my homemade Gatorade recipe, but then stopped. I would hate to cause a problem with an already sick piglet. Marla really does know what to do as she is married to a Pig Farmer and is a pig farmers wife!


    • As I never buy sugary drinks, Ii had to go down THREE aisles of fluffy drinks in the supermarket until i found the gatorade.. He is having Mango.. However i would like your home made recipe for another time anyway, i cannot always get out to a supermarket!!.. thank you linda.. c

      • Here you go:

        Home Made Gatorade like Drink
        1/2 tsp. Real Salt
        1/4 tsp. baking soda
        7 c. water
        1/2 c. lemon juice (freshly squeezed or organic) or juice of your choice
        1 Tbs. lime juice
        1/4 c. honey —or sugar to taste…. I think Gatorade uses 5 tablespoons white sugar and I’m not sure if Pigs can have honey.
        Mix the salt and baking soda with water until dissolved. Some people heat the water to get it all perfectly dissolved; or you can just shake it up.

        Add the lemon juice, lime juice and sweetener and shake well to combine.
        Honey is difficult to mix in; just keep trying, try a long spoon to stir
        Shake well before serving.
        Store refrigerated for up to a week.
        OR use 1/2 c. orange juice and 2 Tbs. lemon juice in place of the lemon/lime mixture
        Or try mango juice in the concentrate cans in the store

        I used this all time when my kids were in sports in high school…of course that was a LONG time ago!


  19. Yesterday two piglets arrived at Home Farm (where the milking parlour is located). One for my neighbor farmer and one for us. This is a new venture as this is strictly a dairy farm with a few chickens to keep us all in eggs. The plonkers will be milk fed – plus all the other good things that the guys need. This is going to be an interesting project. Celi. We know so little but we’ll learn.

        • Between all my piggies they eat about a dozen a day, but start them slowly, same with the milk, water it down at first, it is very rich and they need to work up to the higher protein..good luck.. c

  20. Fingers crossed for # three. Celi, what would do on a day without problems? I know. make cream, butter, cheese and bread!

  21. Trial by fire, Celi This has been quite a winter and spring for you

  22. Poor Piggy! it is hard to remember that pigs are just as susceptible to sickness as we are. In fact, horrible to say, but because they are like us, they are often used by drug companies to test out drugs meant for us! I can remember someone telling me they also test suncream on them as their skins are just likely to get burned as ours. But then I am sure you are thinking “no chance of sunburn here with this darn weather”! Ours has cheered up today, thankfully. Been in the green house pricking out Tomatoes. it was 90 in there – and I got a good sauna at the same time LOL
    Hugs, Lyn

    • Pigs get sick much faster than people but can catch almost anything from a person. Then down they go. But it looks like this fella is holding in there, so fingers crossed. NINETY! How wonderful.. still drizzly and cold here.. c

  23. Plonker #3 is in good hands. I’ve had cats and dogs and know the frustration of trying to figure out what’s wrong and care for them, but it’s been enlightening… and sometimes nail-biting to see it on a whole new level with livestock, who aren’t quite as resilient as they appear.

    • too well bred maybe. Give me a Mutt any day. Do they have pig mutts?.pig butts maybe! c

  24. Stress affects animals just like humans. Taking an animal from its home and companions to a new place is stressful. Trailering them is, too. This lowers immunity and they can get sick and even go down. Too often people think that animals are dumb, unthinking beings, but you and those of us that live with them know better. A young plonker also had fear to contend with, not knowing what was going on, being around strange surroundings. Your loving care will bring him around to being a happy piggy….just like the others.

  25. I can’t believe the view of your yard, it looks just like a regular garden now instead of a frozen tundra wasteland! And pretty with all the green. I think I first tuned in around this time last year or a bit later, so it was already greened and I didn’t see the great contrast. Fingers and trotters crossed for piggie.

  26. I’m so glad I’ve stuck to vegetables. Raising animals is hard work!

  27. Love the look of the greening garden and that bit of blue in the sky, but looking at your weather pattern [well, the Chicago one 🙂 !] our late autumn is much kinder and warmer than you late spring . . . . no wonder about the poor plonker!!!

  28. I hope all went well with the pig today. My fingers are crossed. Your grass looks so green. Lovely. Have a wonderful weekend C!

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