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.

Love celi


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

55 Comments on “DOING ALL I CAN

  1. It must be hard to take a step back from Mums and babies who seem to need extra help. But if they’re the strong piglets you hope they are, they’ll thrive given lots of good milk and a warm place to sleep. I pray your weather turns soon. We’ve just had a narrow cyclone escape; she came right up to our coast, took one look and turned around again!

    • The sun came up into a clear cold sky and even though it is still below freezing I have opened Poppy’s big door so the low sun can reach right inside. It is clouding up now but for the few hours I was outside doing chores she lay on her sunlit bed soaking it up. The babies came out had a drink and went but she is still laid in the sunlight. I could feel the warmth on my back through my Five layers of clothes so it must have felt lovely to her. I will keep it open as long as I can. She hates the door shut.

      • I often bask in the sun with layers on. The sun is so therapeutic. I hope your winter weather is over soon. It’s so hard to go back to that after having some lovely days of spring.

  2. It looks like you’re doing a great job. This cold is brutal. Now they are talking snow again on Sunday! We all need sun and warmth..or at least I do.

    • It is pretty unusual to be this cold for such a protracted period at this time of year. Our vege grower friends are horrified at how late the season is getting.

  3. This is a long winter, odd. The wee babes look very cozy in their creep. Clambering over Poppy’s face must be funny to watch. Wish I could send you some warmth.

  4. Squeals!! Look how small they are. Looks in the mirror at myself – hard to believe I was once that small! Great job my sweet friend. XOXO – Bacon

    • Are pot belly’s born even smaller than that? I know you were a small one (I won’t cay runt – it is not nice) but how much does a pot belly usually weigh at birth?

      • Mom said I was 3 loveable pounds when she got me. So I was probably smaller than that – she got me at 3 weeks. XOXO – Bacon

  5. Clever and cute little piggies, you have done a fine job ☺ Laura

      • That’s what got to me the most, how much you were involved in the process of surviving birth. I really liked the way you taught the newborns to seek warmth in a safe place away from their mother when drinking time was over, pushing them on the back so their legs had to move and so they would learn the route by smell. (Think I have it right). Poppy doesn’t mind your intervention, right? Probably she’s exhausted. Anyway, I can see that you two trust each other.

  6. So there is one wee little one on the left in the Poppy and babies picture – is that the one her head was laying on you think?

    • They are all doing well. In fact SO well that I will slightly enlarge their sleeping area this morning. The corner they have chosen is pretty cramped – they grow extremely fast.c

  7. oh my-such strong looking piglets- you did all to make their beginning successful! Brava!

    • Although prefer to let the sow birth alone and quietly. It does help to do everything for the piglets that I can in the first few days. It will actually keep more of them alive. Once I get to Day Four I start to relax a little. We are on Day Two. By Day Seven the babies will have almost doubled their birth weight if all is going well and then I feel considerable relief.

  8. You can do no more than you have done…its a big responsibility….love to poppy piglets and to you too

  9. Spring is out there somewhere Miss C, if you can hang on just a bit longer. When we get a moment of glorious sun I do just what you do, open my door and let it in. Life is better with a few moments in the sun as Poppy quite clearly understands!

  10. Seriously! It’s April it should not be so cold now! But at least the sun is out and the wind is now whipping us back and forth. Morning miss c…. t

  11. The one that checks in with Poppy’s head is going to be a character, even more than she is now! Squeezes to you all, Lady Pig Farmer!

  12. Ahh, such a wonderful result. Beautiful little piggies. I recall well the late April blizzard that hit us in 1976 and closed down the city of Toronto for three days. So while crazy weather is not usual, it’s certainly not unheard of. October, November and March, April are famously unpredictable— extremes on both ends of the scale are the norm, it seems. I am so looking forward to May now … lol. Hope you’re having a great day. — Mame 🙃

  13. Good news! Amazing what you have done so far. I’m hoping the forecasted cold doesn’t materialize.

  14. So frustrated with the weather. I have 100’s of garden starts in the basement growing out of their small pots waiting to be planted into the garden space. And 8 inches of snow in the forecast for this weekend. 8! Temps next week are forecasted to be colder than average. Bleck. Soooo done with winter….

  15. Those little piglets are just darling. I’m wondering…do mama pigs lick their babies when they are newborn or after, like other animals do? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a mother pig do that…

    • No. A pig will not lick her newborns or even lick herself. If one dies she does not notice. If there is screaming she will notice and attack. But if baby dies of cold in the night there is no reaction. I am trying to think what other mammals do not lick- we will have to ask our zoo lady. I will ask her today and find out

  16. It’s very cold here as well. -10 with the wind factor during the day and it gets colder at night. So I understand your concern very well, but you have done all you can Cecilia. Sending good vibes to you.

    • Oh my – you are cold, cold – I am hoping that is Celcius. For me the problem is that i do not raise my animals in a heated barn. ALL the hog people around here have heated areas (up to 70 /80 degrees!) and can farrow any time of the year – I time my piglets to arrive in April when it is usually quite decent. However it looks like these wee piggies are tougher than I thought! Two more days and we are out of the woods! c

      • Yes, it is Celcius. Ouf! April is always full of surprises here in Quebec. A few years ago we even had a snowstorm in May. All the flowers I planted died. So now I wait for the middle of May before working on my garden. I am glad to hear the piglets are though and hope the weather gets warmer over the weekend.

  17. It sounds like pigs are really not at all that maternal…if that is the right term. So, they must not be that protective either, if they feel something is a threat to their babies? It just astounds me that they would turn on their own babies. I think the perception most people have is that pigs are extremely intelligent but from what I’ve seen and heard, that doesn’t seem to be quite true??

    • Some pigs might be clever but incredibly intelligent is bonkers. They will fight off a threat though and normally do not like anyone near their babies. But they are maternal – in a piggy way. c

  18. There’s not much cuter than little pigs! It’s nasty cold here too. We had 6″ of snow over night Tuesday. It was very windy Wed. but the sun was out. When I walked the dogs the sun was making me over warm but my face felt like it might crack off! April Fool I guess. I keep coming up as anonymous, don’t know why,
    Sherry Walter

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