As Alex my new and simply stunning Dexter heifer arrived …dexter heifer4

…  as Tima, the kunekune gilt, completely out of the blue, without any prior warning whatsoever, went into labour. She had no udder, was not wide or obviously pregnant. She never created a nest. She was eating and drinking like there was no tomorrow.  And she kept pushing her body under straw. She slept all day like that. And it was not cold. She was in labour.


By six in the evening she was in full labour. By 6.30 I was able to help Tima by pulling that first and only piglet out, but I was too late. The piglet was dead. Still-born.  And dead is dead. Dead does not come back to life. There is no reviving dead. In the end you have to lay that body in the cloth, wrap it and put it aside, then turn and start fighting for the living.

She gave birth to that sole stillborn piglet, then she began to bleed, not much,  but constant,  then she began to shake. I have never seen a pig shake like that.  She was in shock.   Her body was shuddering and her legs were out of control shaking. I wrapped her in my jacket then ran back to the house for a blanket and warmed her with that as well. I filled a hot water bottle and put it underneath her.  Then lay down beside her.  Slowly the shaking diminished and she drifted into a deep natural sleep, then she began to snore. And as her snores mingled with the snuffles of Tane, who had been asked to stay in the corridor for the duration, the whole barn began to breathe a sigh of relief.

By eight she expelled the afterbirth and I checked her hourly .  Still she slept with her head under the covers refusing to get up. After midnight when she was clean I brought Tane back in with her. Who do you want to see at this time of your life? – someone who loves you. Of course.   Luckily for Tima the one who loved her was her mate.

Tane got Tima straight up out of the bed with his nose. I brought in some corn – a rare midnight snack and after fighting over that, Tima had a good long drink of water laced with molasses. Then so did Tane. Then they rearranged the bed into a double and went to sleep.  I rewrapped Tima in her pig blanket just to be sure. She said, Thank You. Tane said, where is my blanket and Tima kicked him from under the covers.

Sad that we don’t have pile of cute mini Tima babies but in the end my loyalty it to Timatanga Moana. It  is sad that her baby died. But I cannot tell you how glad I am that Tima is ok.

As I walked back to the house through the dark after midnight it began to rain. Ton left the barn and ran ahead to the house. For the duration of Tima’s ordeal Ton had stood by her gate.  (Boo stayed inside) Even as I moved back and forth Ton  stayed outside Tima’s pen. As we jogged back through the rain that last time I wondered how he had come to the conclusion that her ordeal was over and he could join me in running for home this time.

What can we learn from these animals? I wonder. Get over stuff and get on with life?  Do the job then move to the next with a smile. Toughen up!


Alex we will talk about tomorrow. She is a stunner. A wooly mammoth in miniature. She immediately made friends with Naomi and as I was working with Tima in the next stall these two laid down quietly together and went to sleep. She is not as naturally friendly as Carlos so I will have to train her over the winter.  If all goes well she will be a milk cow and milk cows need training as we all know!

Alex and Naomi

Losses are  part of life. We know them, we bow our heads to them for a time of mourning or remembrance. But life is alive. Pick up your head –  It is ALIVE – for the living, this short life of ours. Fight for it!

Thank you little piglet born still and without life. Your wee life was worth it.

Love celi



101 Comments on “Stillborn

    • The piglet was definitely premature – Maybe there had been two which would have been likely and lost that one earlier maybe in the field – she was missing for a while yesterday.. At the moment she is sleeping cuddled up to Tane, quite peaceful. Living in the moment. c

  1. Love Alex’s cute wooliness, but she doesn’t look very friendly at first glance. So happy to hear our Tima is up and about and OK, but have to admit to shedding a tear over her lost baby. Love,love Laura

    • Oops, meant to say Happy Thanksgiving to USA farmy family and fellowship. Laura

      • Alex is timid. So today I will get the halter on her (which she will not like) then we will start some training asap – we don’t want another Elsie! She does come into the barn though and has the good mannerrs of Naomi to copy.. c

  2. RIP little piglet. So thankful our Tima is ok!! ❤
    Alex is beautiful, those lashes! And I just want to bury my face in that fur! 🙂

    • She is very soft – I really love her hair do! Carlos is just the opposite all black and shiny, which makes me wonder if he was clipped for showing? I must ask Britta.. I really like the wooly look! c

  3. Ah, life can be so harsh. Poor Celi, poor Tima. But I think you have forgotten something: “Who do you want to see at this time of your life? – someone who loves you. Of course. Luckily for Tima the one who loved her was her mate.” Luckily, Tima also has Celi, who loves her, and cares for her, and warms, cleans, feeds and holds her at moments like these. The little lost piglet also has something else to teach us, which is that Tima can be a mother, there’s nothing wrong with her equipment, and Tane also seems to have done his work. And your lovely Alex is a gorgeous woolly girl, hopefully she’s just shy, not unfriendly.

  4. Celi, this is why we love you! No matter how difficult or sad you day proves to be, you share it with us, but find a lesson in positivity from all that has happened in the hours and day before. We know Tima holds a special place in your heart, I am thankful she has come through this ordeal and hope in the future she and Tane can work the magic again with a healthy squealing litter. Hugs of Thanksgiving for you and yours on this special day!

  5. I am so glad you and Tima came through this. What a sad and unexpectedthing to happen. I did shed a few tears. I do hope she gets back to full strength soon, and I epxect you need to catch up on some sleep. Beautiful Alex – isn’t life sad and wonderful and beautiful too?

  6. So sad for you and for Tima. What a sad story. Oh my. You told it in such a touching way. – Lovely Boo though.
    And fluffy Alex already in friendship with Naomi. I just can shake my head in awe. I am surprised how mature Naomi looks.
    Have a good day, Celi.

    • Irmi, It is wonderful to see your face!!! Much love to you and all, and a Happy Thanksgiving to those celebrating it. Our turkey will be ready in three hours. Gayle

    • Thanks to you both! Makes me happy. 🙂 (Wasn’t it high time to end anonymity?) – And sorry, I did not realise that Thanksgiving is t.o.d.a.y. So – a little bit late – Happy Thanksgiving to you all!
      I think this day provides a great opportunity to mention that the Fellowship is such a special community that I love very much and that I am very thankful of for all that I get here and what I can learn here everyday!
      Especially many, many thanks to you, Celi! You are such a treasure (or gem or jewel) …

  7. What a stressful evening you had – made all the more difficult because you had no idea Tima was pregnant…. then the sadness of seeing the poor little baby who didn’t make it… then the bleeding and Tima going into shock. I hope you had a strong slug of whiskey after it was all over. I loved how you covered Tima with your coat, ran to get a blanket and then lay down beside her. I’m sure the warmth of your body – plus the warmth of your heart – helped her pull through. Wishing you a wonderful Turkey Day and sending you big cyber hugs. PS What a gorgeous heifer. I know we’ve all fallen in love with her a first sight, just as you did.

  8. Alex is so beautiful. So sorry about the little piglet but I am glad Tima is alright. Hope you all can get a little extra rest.

    • I am not one for resting – in fact I would RATHER be out in the barn – today looks like a Get Your Housework Done day! A few unusual days and it becomes such a mess! c

  9. Welcome Alex, she is beautiful. Such a mystery surrounding Tima, but your instinct and midwifery skills cannot go unnoticed during that remarkable event. Thank you for saving our girl.

    • Yes, that baby was premature, I think she encountered some misadventure though she is unmarked.. something happened to cause the piglet to be born too early and it would not surprise me if there had been another lost earlier.

  10. My heart goes out to you. You take care of the practical aspects while you must and deal with the loss later. It’s life but life is yin and yang. I’m so sorry this had to happen and glad sweet Tima is holding on. Loss is so hard. It’s lovely that Tane is there to comfort and care. Animals can teach us so much. I hope you have a wonderfilled Thanksgiving in spite of the heartache. Giant squish hugs to get you through.

  11. Oh dear, what a shock. Sending you great big comforting hugs from way over here.

  12. So sad to hear of the stillborn piglet, but so glad to hear that Tima is recovering. Nature definitely works in mysterious ways. It could be that there was something terribly wrong with the little one and Tima’s body rejected it. You never know. Alex is definitely a stunner! That dun color is my favorite… Mazel tov on the new addition to the farm! Happy Thanksgiving.

  13. Poor Tima thank goodness she had you to look after her, poor little piglet. Your new heifer Alex looks lovely.

  14. This is so not the news I was expecting. Tima, however, will live to see another day. I think it safe to say that on just about any other farm, Tima would have been lost, too. It was your care that saved her, Celi. No doubt about it.

  15. I’m glad you were able to help Tima. Her body must have recognized this was not going to be a normal pregnancy-no signs. I’ve had to help our dog deliver a stillborn and there is always a pang. I hope everyone stays healthy and I love the look of the new Dexter heifer.

  16. I’m so very glad you were there to attend to her! I wonder what you must have thought was happening to her, as her pregnancy was not apparent? No matter, you saved her. I pray for a quiet day for the whole Farm today. Just quiet and peace.

  17. so very sad for the wee little piglet- but so very wonderful the loving care you gave and always do give to your precious family.
    Have a lovely day today – we are thankful to have you and your farmy in our lives- even if it is only via internet!

  18. I’m glad the little piglet knew it was time to go to save Tima. Lessons and reminders in the cycle of things come at all times.

  19. Oh, how sad! But I’m glad you still have the Mother! I love how animals communicate with each other (and us). When you are with them all the time you can understand them.


  20. Sigh – what a night you had! I am so sorry the little piglet didn’t make it, but if it was early it was for the best as who knows what problems it could have had.
    And Alex is adorable – a mini mammoth! I love the wild woolly look! I hope she settles into a sweet easy to work with milk cow for you. Did you say she is already pregnant? When is the calf due? Have a great day my dear friend, and try to get a nap or two !

    • Yes she is already pregnant, checked by a vet so fingers crossed. He thinks about June I think – I will have to check my diary and get back to you but it is not in the same month as Lady A which is good.. c

  21. I know you will be watching for anything even slightly off, so I’ll just say glad it wasn’t a worse scenario and I hope that little girl recovers fully. Good job you were there.

  22. Sorrow and Joy! So much of both these days. Many first time mothers have trouble, this spring you’ll have babies! Happy Thanksgiving from Texas.

  23. The tears keep coming here. As John said, this so not what I was expecting. I cannot begin to say how sharing the intimacies of this life you lead touches me and clearly every single one of The Fellowship. The depths of sorrow and the heights of joy. The extraordinary behavior of Tane and Ton! How extraordinarily different Boo and Ton are, yet so extraordinary in how they see their roles and act on them.
    We have so much to be thankful for and I am especially thankful for you, Cecilia.
    Alex really looks like a wooly mammoth, and like manicmumdays said, I’d love to bury my face in her fur.

  24. Dear C. I can’t add anymore than what the Fellowship has already said. My sentiments exactly…and yes, isn’t life sad, and beautiful at the same time. So many things we can’t begin to know about it but there it is in all it’s terrible beauty. We’re all thankful for you today Cinders.

  25. Oh my, you have such a beautiful way to tell of events! I am just so grateful (as I suspect Tame is too) that you were nearby and aware of her troubles before it was too late. The very good news is, of course, that Tane is quite capable of doing his job… so hopes high and fingers crossed that the two will make the pairing before long and have spring babies….. how long is the gestation period for piggies?
    Yes, Alex is a beautiful cow. That curly brown hair (fur?) is adorable… but those eyes are most threatening. Perhaps after she settles in and thinks of the Farmy as home, she’ll drop her guard a little and become more friendly.
    Ton! But then, to me, you can’t beat a Border Collie; every one of them steals my heart. Happy gobble gobble day! ~ Mame 🙂

  26. oh goodness Celi ~ what an unexpected nite of shock. for Tima AND you. So sorry for all that both of you endured but glad that Tima is doing ok today. As they always say about human miscarriages ~ nature has its way of taking care of imperfections. What would Tima do without her Master? And Tane comes in to saddle up to his Sweetie. Well ~ I guess if there’s anything exciting about this, now we all know that Tane is able to make love!!!! Yeh Tane!! Valentine’s Day is coming!! On the other side of the fence ~ no. 1 Alex is a pretty gal!! with a sweet face ~ and I love her Dexter coat!! I’ve seen these cattle a few times in traveling around Europe but I didn’t know what breed they were. Well all in all ~ Celi ~ take a bit to rest ~ you’re an amazing person when it comes to these unexpected farm experiences ~ and then ~ the way you share these times with all the Fellowship. Thanksgiving ~ Tima is still here! Better days ahead! Hugs to Tima!

  27. I always seem to be a latecomer with comment, and today there is not much to add that hasn’t already been said. We can analyze about why and what, but in the end we do what we can and we love. Appreciating the gift of what we are left with… and moving on, which can be so tough. No matter how many times I experience death in the woodlands, it takes time to grieve, accept and move on. If one can find the gift in the experience or thankfulness, it becomes a bright thread in the fabric of life. I think what I loved most was that you laid with Tima to comfort her. It is the best feeling to lay right beside those we love.

    Alex looks fabulous with that “bed head” look. A rough beauty who brings her own gift to the Farmy family. And Ton and Boo… they too, have their talents and special soulfulness. My thoughts are with you Celi… and my love carries to you on the wind.

  28. Hugs from here too, it’s always sad when a soul returns to source, and a shock when it’s sudden and unexpected. Don’t forget the Rescue Remedy…for you, Tima and Tane, and a little for Ton too…his doggy heart sped up in worry for you both….although you’re pragmatic and know that it’s time to pick up and go on, the reaction may come when you least expect it. And nose kisses for that sweet woolly girl, a delightful addition to the Farmy.

  29. Well done. All the experiences and lessons count for something but I was beginning to shake inwardly as I read. But all was well enough, though sad. Whatever it is with Ton, he knows it well. He’s a good dog, and a good mate both to you and the Farmy Flerd 🙂

  30. Life. You give it right to us every day. The sad, the joy, the ordinary, the learning. That is why we come. So happy to read of Tima’s quick recovery so far. The new cow is beautiful. Happy Thanksgiving.

  31. That’s a sad story, and a heart-warming story as well, about your acceptance of the still birth and how you put your attention totally on to Tima, nursing her through until she had come through the shock. I wanted to come running in with Rescue Remedy as soon as I read about her shaking.

  32. That’s a sad one C. Few tears this morning. A tired teacher at the end of the year and hears that Tima and Tane lost their wee’n. Love to the Kunekune whanau xoxoxoox

  33. That tiny little extinguished life has brought us together through you, and given us pause to be grateful. Hugs to you all.

  34. My sweet Celi, you make me grateful not only that I have come to know you through your beautiful work, words, and images of all kinds but that you make me think about so many of life’s (and death’s) incredible gifts, however small or subtle. No better day than today to say that I am thankful to know you!
    Hugs from Stockholm-leaving-for-Texas, with love.

  35. Methinks Alex has already realized she has landed in a good place . . . and hopefully Tima will recover from her ordeal fully and fast . . . just do hope that somehow there was some time to remember it was Thanksgiving . . .

      • Ha! Ha! As if you haven’t lived on the Prairies long enough and could not follow a recipe: but what a fabulous ‘excuse’ to have . . . .hugs . . .

  36. I am so glad you were on hand and noticed Tima’s labor or the outcome could’ve been too too sad. I know full well how quickly and easily you can become very attached to these kune kunes. They are so full of character!
    I think perhaps Alex’ wary look is the result of her exuberant eyebrows? Such a haughty arch they have. She is the color of my John’s mare sweet Sally though Sal is not so wooly, in the sun she glistens like a brand new penny!

  37. Sad that Tima lost the piglet, there might have been something wrong with it that didn’t show. I’m thankful that Tima is okay, that you were there and able to help her. There is hope for kunekune piglets come spring. Alex is a very beautiful girl. May her training go well and easy. Happy Thanksgiving to you and all the Farmy Fellowship.

  38. Another day of emotional swings–delight with Alex and sad for Tima’s (and the farmy’s) loss. Alex does look woolly! I would think Ton could tell by your voice when bade Tima final good night.

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