Monday, May 20, 2013

Nigella & Bertie are parents......

Not long born! 
I sometimes forget that not everyone follows us on Facebook so after having supper with friends last night this post is for them and anyone else who is not on Facebook. 
Five days old and rather happy!
Two weeks today our lovely gilt Nigella gave birth.  She showed no signs the day before that she was going into labour. She had looked huge for ages and we had an approximate due date for a week later, but well laid plans never really pan out!  
While doing the morning milking Michael appeared at the door with camera on shoulder so I knew it was either immanent or had happened.  Once milking was done we headed down to the barn and Nigella was laying down with lots of little piglets attached and feeding.  It was a little disappointing not to have been there with her, especially after having been there for our goats, but from what we had read pigs can either give birth really fast or it could be an hour between each piglet. 
Nigella had a total of 10 piglets but we did lose one, we think she must have trodden on it or either laid on it while birthing. But for her first litter she did a great job.
Nigella has been a great mum so far and her piglets are getting bigger by the day.  I think the only thing we where taken aback about was how small they are especially in comparison to mum.  They have learnt to move quickly and get out of Nigella's way when she gets up and moves around or when she is getting ready to nurse.  She likes to dig all the straw up and get into a comfy position then does a lot of grunting and all the piglets come running and latch onto the "milk bar".

They are fun to watch especially in comparison to the baby goats as the piglets like to nest and they burrow deep into a mound of straw. We have to be really careful when heading into their pen to feed Nigella as you don't always see them.

We did have our first break away yesterday morning.  Our barn is in a gully and while we where bringing the horses up from their paddock we noticed a little bit of movement at the entrance.  We initially thought it was our other pigs heading out to their paddock for a mid morning root up but there where too many heads!  Nigella was a little frantic by the time we had got down but it did not take too long to herd them back in with her.  We have created a separate area for them as our barn is an open barn so all the pigs are able to sleep and nest together in the evenings when they come back in from rooting everything up!  In a couple of weeks Nigella and her piglets will be in their own paddock and the piglets will be learning to respect the electric fence which will be entertaining. I can imagine we will be hearing lots of little squeals! 
This won't be our last litter this year as Ina is due in August and Delia all being well will be due in September.