Poppy had a very slow start. One wild live baby, one dead (long dead) one then a bad time where I had to go in and bring out the piglet who was stuck, so now there were two.  Then one more dead one. Then Poppy got up and had some dinner and lay back down and went to sleep. After the Two had had a long drink and warmed up  (wrapped in my jacket under the heat lamp while their mother ate and drunk) I waited for her to lie back down then returned them to their mother. Then retreated.

Only two I said to John who was reading his IPad and wondering about dinner.

I went out and did chores, feeding the chickens and the little pigs and the cows and the big pigs while John made dinner.  Popping in on Poppy every now and then. All three were sleeping. \

An hour had passed.

Then while I helped in the kitchen, Poppy popped out five more babies about 30 minutes apart.  I could see all this happening on the baby monitor. But Poppy’s head was heavy, she was having trouble – I could see this.  Twice she tried to get up but could not as the babies fed on regardless. At one point a baby got caught under her head and I raced out and raised her very heavy head to release the wee piglet. Poppy’s head plopped back down.

She passed masses of placenta.

6.30. I herded all the little ones into the heated creep.  I shut them in there.  I cleaned up the placenta and another unformed dead piglet. I forced Poppy to get up. Eating and drinking helps.   In the course of the next two hours I did this four more times to train the piglets where the warmth was but making sure they got lots of milk.    But after the first two times Poppy was not getting.  I can hear her on the monitor not even ten minutes later calling them back out for a drink which is good.  They need to be almost constantly drinking in the first few days. After an hour when they fell asleep around her legs. I put them back into the warmth. Poppy was still shaking – not from cold though. I think from trauma.  She looks huge – her legs sticking straight out.

She was shaky and cold a couple of weeks ago remember?

8pm I fed Poppy cinnamon buns straight into her mouth and covered her in straw for warmth – leaving her belly open for the babies who were sleeping under the heat lamps. She called them out for a drink.

(Molly did this once. Do you remember? She did not get up much for the first 48 hours. So I will give Poppy the right to heal herself.

8.39.   I let her sleep. And I left the babies asleep on their heated mat in the box with the heat light right at their entrance and let everyone sleep for a while.

8.45 She calls them all out again for a drink. Though she herself has not changed position. She barks her song and out they all putter out.  I go out to check that they are all drinking. It is cold and blowing snow, cold.

9. 44  poppy calls her babies – they are all drinking – it is blowing cold – she has been up had a feed and a good drink of water laced with molasses and changed sides and they are all drinking with vigour even the wee fellow who had been trapped under her head.  He is small and looks a bit drunk but he is out there.

10.14 – I collect them from little huddles around the pen and bring them into the creep for a warm up and after a while she calls them back out for hot food in the belly!

10.40 everyone back into the warm cfreep for a sleep – Poppy rolls over and goes to sleep herself.

Midnight. 2am and 4am. The same. Each time I find them sleeping and gather them up and walk them to the warm creep. Their bellies feel full.

It snowed last night and the wind picked up – the worst it has been in a while.

It is 6am now. I am tired and aching. This time I will have a hot shower and dress before I go out into this awful morning.

It was a wicked night – the doors blowing and the snow flying.  If I left them out in that drafty frozen pen they would have been dead by morning.

So there have not been many photos – actually no photos – and not much sleep either.   But the seven are all alive so far and Poppy, though a bit rugged, has heaps of milk and is much brighter by this early morning.

I am not even going to go back over this  post to check this for sense.

After a hot shower, I am going to go out and feed everyone – go through my little routine with the babies then try to catch a little more sleep.  It is 26F. Cold.

WEATHER:  Horrible.


Wednesday 04/04 60% / < 1 in
Windy with on and off snow showers during the morning. High 38F. Winds WNW at 20 to 30 mph. Chance of snow 60%.

Wednesday Night 04/04 0% / 0 in
Some clouds. Low 24F. Winds W at 10 to 15 mph.

6:31 am 7:21 pm

Waning Gibbous, 84% visible 11:45 pm 9:13 am




62 Comments on “POPPY’S SEVEN

  1. I’m glad Poppy made it through, along with the babies. And you too, miss c. You deserve a long hot bath. The weather will get better, and I’ll be sending good juju to you all.

  2. So very rough! Wow. I hope you have had a nice sleep and the babies are all doing well as they get stronger today.

    • I just watched (on the monitor) the babies have a good drink, then one by one they peeled off and trotted over to and through the door into their creep. If I went out to check I am sure they would all be curled up together under the hot light. So the really good news is that they have learned their routine and I don’t need to go out and lead them back to bed every time now. c

      • Fabulous. Smart piglets. Lucky to have Miss C looking out for everyone so intently. Sigh…now, to sleep-and-eat-and-sleep. All of you! xo

  3. you are a good mama. the job of a farmer is to care for the animals. job well done 🙂

    • It was so very cold that I needed to get those babies warm and dry but also full of milk. At one point I had one down the front of my coat sleeping while I rescued her brother.

    • It is working – we still have some terribly cold nights ahead – usually I plan not to farrow in these temperatures but usually these temperatures are up until February and maybe early March. – so far so good though.

  4. Glad most of the babies fared well. Hope enjoy a good long rest as well!

    • The two dead ones had died in utero – probably during that period that Poppy appeared cold and shaky. She was not right. I think that today she is feeling a little better. c

  5. Northern Indiana, directly east of you and horrible it is. Yelled “JUST STOP” at the sky this morning while trying to do chores and open a big sliding steel door facing the west, with tears running down my face. I’d been out awhile, was cold and couldn’t get the d*** door open. Then couldn’t get it closed and it HAD to get closed or I’d lose it. When I turned around to go back to the barn to finish milking, again yelling stop, I got hit in the face with a gust that almost took me off my feet and I’m tall, broad shouldered and not petite. I decided to stop yelling at the sky. Hope your day goes better.

    • Oh NO – you poor thing and milking in it to boot. I hate struggling with doors into the wind. I simply could not close the North door on the other side this morning. I don’t have the weight on a normal day let alone fighting a wind at the same time. Fancy the wind giving you a wack. Hope you have finished most of the morning chores. Time for a cuppa. c

    • You have to yell louder. Old sky can’t hear very well because of the wind. But I sympathize with both you and sky. I dont hear well either, and my storm door flies off the handle,so to speak, when I go out for the newspaper, and then doesn’t want to let me in. (Old guy here; farmer in imagination only.)

      Bravo, Miss C and her Poppy! Big night! Thank you for the details. I could have been there, I almost felt like it as I read– except that I was awake most of the night here reading my iPad and wondering why I ate so much dinner.

  6. And this is why Lady Pig Farmers deserve respect – and get it. Well done, all of you: the piglets, Poppy and you.

    • Poppy and I will continue to be vigilant – keeping them warm and well fed for the next 48 hours will set them well on their way. So far so good though – they are moving in and out of the creep under their own steam now so that is good.

    • I am not even going to go and read that again – as the night progressed I probably descended into gibberish. Glad you could understand it at least. c

  7. Yeah! Your post made me feel like I was right there with you. Wish I was there to lend a hand though I don’t have a clue about birthing piglets!

    • Yes. Plus it is a very quiet, very still vigil. Just me and the mother. Though it was a bit of a shock to come out of all that and find NO chores done at all. I could have used a hand with feeding out.

  8. What an exhausting night you have all had! I hope you have a much more peaceful, warm and restful day. All those piggies are so fortunate to have your care.

  9. Old man winter needs to take his leave!!!!! I was holding my breath the whole post….. Hoping you have a quiet day!

  10. Piglets!!! Squeals in piggy excitement. Surely I would help if I was there with sweet Poppy. Wishing all of them and YOU some rest today. Keep us posted. We all feel we are right there with you. Sending many hogs and snout kisses. XOXO – Bacon

  11. Oh dear what an exhausting and worrying time for you. Let’s hope all is well now, and try to take it easy.

  12. Hope you can all settle today, keep warm and get some rest

  13. I’m so sorry this happened at the worst time. It sounds like having dead babies makes it come sooner, thus having a harder time all around. I am glad Poppy had you as attending. Bet she is too. Hope you do get some rest. We don’t care if this post is perfect. You got the message across clearly. Keeping our fingers crossed for Poppy and the remaining piglets.

  14. Well done, Celi and well done Poppy – though such a riveting tale of this long, hard birthing. Rest as you can and here’s hoping some warmer weather shows up asap.

  15. I do hope you’ve had time to get some rest by the time you read my comment. You did an amazing job. Fingers crossed Poppy’s 7 continue to thrive. xo

  16. I’m so glad they are making it…you have done well. Warmer weather will help!! Keeping all thoughts, fingers and prayers out there for Poppy! (And you)

  17. I was listening to the winds last night, knew how cold it was and thought to myself, “not tonight, Poppy, please not tonight”. You must be running on adrenaline and caring determination to be there for Poppy. Thankfully, she let you help. You have said how much you really like to be hands off during this time. Hope all goes well today and in the days coming and you can get some sweet sleep.

  18. Love how they learn to find the creep after you show them how. Pigs are smart little tykes all right. That helps a lot. Also love how she calls them for a drink and they come. And love that you had one inside your jacket to warm up. And congratulations on a major job well done. We got snow here in Chicago too. I’m watching the live cam of Decorah eagles and was sad to see the nest all snowy yesterday…one chick has hatched.

  19. Oh bless you, Lady Pig Farmer! Thank heavens for your determination, stamina and commitment. It’s been nasty down here in St Louis too (storms, high wind, snow showers, the whole works), and I’ve been WILLING the temperatures to turn warmer for you and Poppy. Now shaking my fist at Mother Nature while keeping everything crossed and chanting prayers for you and Poppy and the wee piglets. (I love the mental image of you feeding Poppy cinnamon buns straight into her mouth — the fierceness and love in that picture.)

  20. Fingers crossed for Poppy and the babes. Well done you. So sorry for the cold.

  21. I’m glad most of the baby piggies made it … as to mommy, when she’s full of milk, she calls the babies to relieve the pressure so she can be comfy again. 🙂

    • Oh! I didn’t know that! I love learning this! Thanks for sharing.

  22. Well done you and Poppy. The wind is strong here in Eastern Ontario. My donkeys are hanging out in the barn. They hate wind so they go in and stay there. Probably means indoor feeding tonight. With our high wind maybe yours has settled. Hope so.

  23. POPPY IS A MOMMY!!! YAY! So sorry about the wee ones who didn’t make it. Always sad…………… Hope YOU find time to rest, dear lady!

  24. You ARE the Lady Pig Farmer. Wonderful work, no matter the outcome, you have done well. x

  25. What a marathon. I’m so impressed at all the actions you took, and especially your knowledge about the importance of good nutrition and warmth, and all the other little details that add up to that critical care that is life-saving. Well done!

  26. So much of our lives is about dealing with weather conditions. It is a farmer’s fate to roll with the punches and make the best of it. The animals know this too. Your writing was perfect, C. It allows us to be right there, wringing our hands in a little worry, wishing there was a way to change the weather and give Poppy and you a little comfort to see things through.

  27. I’m glad you are such a good farmer. You saved Poppy and her litter. A great, heroic effort and a great story. We all were peering over the pen watching the action. Thanks Miss C.

  28. Oh my, I feel for you Cecilia. You must be so tired. I’m glad I read your other post first so I know there is hope. Fingers crossed.

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