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. found-013

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. found-015

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.

Over it.

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.

Camo Cat. found-012

Dennis, the Menace is off the porch and a proper farm cat now. found-008

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. found-007

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.

Love celi

WEATHER: Maybe some thunderstorms, maybe not. Nice temperatures for baby piglets though.

Wednesday 10/04 80% / 0.08 inThunderstorms in the morning, then mainly cloudy late. High 72F/22C. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 40%.


Wednesday Night 10/04 20% / 0 inA few clouds from time to time. Slight chance of a rain shower. Low 56F/13C. Winds light and variable.

6:52 am 6:29 pm
Waxing Gibbous, 99% visible 6:17 pm 5:25 am


37 Comments on “MOLLY’S THREE

  1. Molly’s an experienced mum – she’d probably show some distress if things weren’t as usual. Maybe she’s decided three is enough!
    I’m glad she’s OK and has healthy babies.

  2. Lovely chubby plush babies. It’s human to worry. It’s Pig to have a snack and a snooze. It does sound as if the vet’s right, but you’re the farmer and you know your animals. I guess you’ll worry a bit longer 🙂

  3. Your fretting is what ensures that all your animals get the best of everything always 🙂 Just look how well Wai’s back has healed up! Laura

  4. Fret and worry – what a nuisance it is, but we all suffer with it sadly. I like what the Vet said – she moved on… Humans wallow – animals just move on…. Which is the dumb ones in that scenario? 😉 😉

  5. Oh dear. I am not a mover-on-er either. (I don’t know much about farming, but after watching a zillion episodes of Dr. Pol with my children, I had the same concerns you did.) But I must learn to move on as well!!!! I fret. It can get quite tedious, my fretting. Even I get bored with it. Let’s follow Molly’s lead. Her THREE are perfect and beautiful! So let’s be happy about that.

  6. I’m sure everything is ok, as you say she is eating pooing and peeing, major signs that things are ok. Wai looks cosy in his straw bed! Alright for some! 😂

  7. Gee, I’d hat to think how many blog posts have I written over the years about “moving on”. I am better at moving forth but I still tend to drum up all of the what if’s that could be lurking around. It’s difficult because we CAN help many times when things go awry and we want what we think is best for the animal. What I loved most here was the importance that you gleaned in what the vet had to say… “The sow has moved on”. It’s very simple really. In nature, there are often reasons for not so many babies. Most of the time it is about survival. I think many times animals sense more about what is or what is to come than we do. Instinct is powerful.

    I have observed in the wild that mammals eat the afterbirth and clean up any evidence of the birthing. I never really thought of domestic animals doing this but it makes sense. And yes, there is a lot of nutritional value to the afterbirth.

      • I agree with all the above comments & am descended from famous worriers so I get my habit of it naturally. it is awful though. Beautiful babies & good Mama Molly. I love stripey cats. I had the darling Stripedy Brothers One & Two & Mom Cat whose real name was Alexandra Haig after the guy in the pin-striped suit who tried to take over the presidency once upon a time. They Stripeys were all Smarty Cats, as well.

  8. Hee Hee! Wai’s got the markings of a crooked-backed skunk OR he could give a tortoise a run for its money! Mr. Dennis is quite handsome, and the piglets are so squishy and round! Thank you, Ceci , for the delightful images!

  9. Such simple words, “the sow has moved on.” But the lesson to us; huge. I can already hear me repeating these words to myself again and again. I tend to be a worrier and need to be more like Molly. And she just had to prove what I think you may have indicated before – no two births are the same on the Farm. Always learning.

  10. Not only are most women worriers we’re gnawers too. Circular thinkers–going over and over the same chew. It’s our nature. Men distract themselves.
    Oh Dennis has beautiful markings. Handsome!
    I know I shouldn’t but I’m still laughing about Wai “in a fury” over T&T having the colossal gall to enter his bedroom uninvited!

  11. *memories with a smile!* Reading all this my mind wanders back to the human side of giving birth. We had residential ‘duties’ for 4 + 2 weeks in a maternity hospital when I was studying. Of all the specialities I SO wanted to become an obstetrician! Mostly joy! ‘Course most babies DO manage to sneak into the world during the night-time hours – we would be on duty! Hate to think of placenta ‘watch’ – mostly for both the new Mom and us to breathe a sigh of relief when it slipped out . . . sometimes a horror show for a novice ‘doctor’ when a haemorrhage suddenly ensued with no ‘Senior’ being on the floor. Well, Celi, at least there is one thing you do not have to do with piglets [nor humans at this date] – we had to sew a ‘bellyband’ around each baby’s cut umbilicus – I promise you they wriggle more than any piglet could!!! So could the 7 out of 9 males in my group hold a needle? Ha! Ha! Three o’clock in the morning and me singing lullabies to wrigglies to earn super dinners from grateful male mates! Fondly remembered!! Go, Molly!!!

  12. That is an excellent lesson from your vet. I’ve done similar things with chicks and full grown birds, I was always fretting about them. But you’re right, even when they were attacked or one was killed, they just found safety and moved on. The next day they were acting like nothing had happened and I had a hard time sleeping for a week.
    It’s interesting what animals can teach us.

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