Molly scared me yesterday. She only delivered three piglets, her previous litters have been eight and eleven? – to have so few could have been because one was stuck or she was in trouble. I could not find the placenta and if she did not deliver that then she could die of blood poisoning.
She lay about for the day looking wan. But when you add up all her symptoms (and especially when you reel them off to the vet) she seems fine. Babies are drinking well. She is eating and drinking well and pooing and peeing. No discharge. She is sleeping. She is feeding the babies and talking to them as usual.
It is difficult to fully examine a pig who is not crated and I never crate any of my sows. But I had a bad feeling. So I called the Vet.
But my Vet said not to worry – Molly has moved on. She is no longer in labour, she may well have eaten the afterbirth (which would not have been much with only three piglets and if they can they always eat the afterbirth – getting rid of the bloody evidence that would attract predators plus the intake of iron of course), if she still had piglets in there she would be in great distress, straining and remaining in labour, but she was simply sleeping.
Hogs can have one, two, three or many piglets – it only indicates a bad breeding cycle or maybe the sows fertility powering down – it is not always trouble .
He said he has known sows to start farrowing then stop delivering if the afternoon gets too hot. They will cease contractions and wait a number of hours until the day cools down or the danger passes, before starting again and delivering healthy babies.
His expression struck me as important. The sow has moved on. As I fretted and worried and my mind raced through the possible scenarios (all bad) that having only three piglets indicated; Molly went to the toilet, had something to eat, took a nap and moved on.
Of course, anything could have happened in the night, I visited her late before I went to bed. She was fine. She was asleep on her side, close to the creep door where she always sleeps, the babies were stretched out in the doorway of their creep under their warm lamp, inches from her nose, she grunted at me as I watched and that was that. So, I must trust the sow.
It will take a few days for her to reabsorb most of that milk though, which is going to be uncomfortable but there I am – not moving on again. Being left behind to fret. Nature will take care of that too. And I will be watching and noting just like a regular farmer.
I will still worry, I am a fretter but it is good to remember that Molly has always taken a while to get over farrowing. But I am going to learn to Move On. Move to the next stage so my worrying is in the right subject line at least.
Dennis, the Menace is off the porch and a proper farm cat now.
I set up the meat chickens for a rainy night (tarpaulan stretched over their chicken tractor) but the rain did not come. Too convenient I suppose. However if it did rain before the cold comes it would be a great bonus for the fields.
I let Lady Astor into Pat’s Paddock last night, it is one of the smaller harder fields so we will see if her prolonged period on dry feed has helped her belly. She was become very sad being alone and a bit naughty. Now, she can be with the herd through the fence though not roaming with them through the good pasture threatening her belly with bloat. And still on hand for milking once a day.
I hope you have a good day.
WEATHER: Maybe some thunderstorms, maybe not. Nice temperatures for baby piglets though.