Wednesday, August 3, 2011
As I was laying in bed last night around 8:30, trying to convince myself that no one's head ever really exploded from a migraine, my son Jonathan burst into the bedroom panting and blurted out, "Piglets! In the chicken house! Four or five are already nursing, and I think I saw another one pop out!" He said something about getting a towel to wipe off a couple that seemed especially dirty, and he was gone again.
This morning, in spite of a lingering headache, I got myself out there to check out the new additions. Julia had followed Mike to her own little house when he went into the chicken house this morning. None of the babies followed, so Mike put them all in a box and took them to the pig's area. Piglets remind me more of human babies than any other livestock the way that they nurse until they fall asleep, and then if they accidentally fall off the teat, they wake up immediately and start looking for it again!
The final count was nine babies -- four girls and five boys. Unfortunately, two of the girls (gilts) were dead this morning, just laying there peacefully near their mama without a sign of anything wrong. One of the other little girls is not the most clued-in about nursing, so I'm wondering if her sisters had a little trouble also getting the hang of it. While six of the piglets were nursing this morning, she was hanging out in the little house, so we took her out several times and kept putting her back on the teat. Although the nine piglets were in a variety of sizes, there wasn't a real runt in the litter, so that's a good thing.
Because the guinea hogs are an endangered breed, we'll be keeping the girls for breeding as long as they don't show any undesirable traits. Some of the boys will wind up as pork, but a couple of the nicer ones will probably be sold for breeding.
About the piglet prognostication give-away -- not a single person chose August 2! But two people guessed August 3, and that was Penny and Miss Effie. Penny said ten piglets, and Miss Effie said six, so Penny is the winner of the goat milk soap. Drop me an email Penny (deborah at antiquity oaks), and I'll get your soap in the mail right away! Thanks to everyone for your guesses!