Taking a step back from mothering the mothers and their babies is hard for me. But the new babies had a good day yesterday. The barn is closed up and quiet. Womb-like except for the lack of warmth. Poppy’s Seven have learnt to drink and run and are not hanging about in the cold preferring their warm beds in the next room.
Above is an early morning photo from yesterday – even since then they have filled out. Along with the pretty shots, we need to see a few that are merely documentative.
Babies in their creep. To train them to go in there I walked them like sleepy toddlers being taken to the toilet in the middle of the night, I moved their bodies and their legs kind of cycled underneath. I did this all the first night until they got the idea. After they had finished their drinking I walked two at a time from their Mum straight to the creep following the scent of the one before. I put a hand on each back and literally drove them along so they learned the track straight to the warmth. Usually, they really don’t go to the heated room for the first couple of days, staying with their mother – drinking often, and sleeping there but this cold is wicked and they were lying next to their mother literally shivering. So I trained them early.
And it worked. So far.
However, they are a good size. My pig mentor and I gave them their iron shots yesterday. We will leave the castrating of the three males until the weather warms up. There are four females and three males.
Taking a risk, I have left all the straw in Poppy’s pen. I hate to do that because she mucks about with it and babies get caught in the straw and there is a risk of being stood on but it is just way too cold to leave Poppy on just the shavings. There are some risks I have to take.
There is a very good reason why farrowing rhymes with harrowing.
So I have done all I can. And all I should. Now I go back to letting Poppy be and bothering them as little as possible. I clean in there once a day and keep the sows feeder and water full enough to never run out. I can see on the monitor if a piglet is out in the cold but so far they drink vigorously then literally scamper over their mothers face on the way back into the warm. Not mucking around at all.
If the seven have all survived last night then they have a good chance of coming through the next week.
Because the temperatures are forecast to drop even lower. The ones that survive this tough beginning will be strong animals – that is for sure.
I hope you have a lovely day and I hope it is warm where you are. Though I know that many of you are down here in the cold with me.
WEATHER: We are looking at five days of this kind of weather. Though colder in the night times. Then surely it will warm a little (Though I have written that sentence a few times already)
Thursday 04/05 60% / < 1 in
Rain and snow showers this morning changing to mainly rain showers for the afternoon. High 39F. Winds SSE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precip 60%.
Thursday Night 04/05 30% / 0.02 in
A few showers early, then clouds lingering overnight. Low 32F. SE winds shifting to W at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 30%.
6:29 am 7:22 pm
Waning Gibbous, 76% visible Not Available 9:51 am