Pinky was building a nest at the top of the hill. She pawed the ground and piled up sticks and grass on the bare patch of dirt. We had been waiting about two weeks for Pinky, our second pregnant sow, to give birth to her piglets and it seemed like that was the day. I had to get her into the “pig hut” before dark so I could monitor the birth. When born, the piglets would be safer in the farrowing hut (farrow means to give birth to piglets) with its four walls, complete with “escape” routes for the piglets. We designed the stalls so the tiny baby piglets could hide when six hundred pound momma pig decided to lie down.
Three weeks ago, Chipmunk, another sow, gave birth to nine piglets. Of the nine born, nine are still alive but we can lose piglets at birth so I have to be prepared to assist if needed.
This day was Pinky’s time to give birth. It was crucial to get her in the hut before the piglets were born. I coaxed her with food and shut the door after her, now it was time to wait.
At 9:30 pm she had her first two piglets; about the same time our AirBNB guests arrived. To help make ends meet we rent out an apartment to folks who want to stay on a farm. That night Charles Hale, a Patch employee, with his family were arriving to stay a week. The family’s nine-year-old son, wanted to witness the piglets birth so he and his father hung out in the farrowing hut for an hour. By 12:30 am a total of six piglets had been born, including the last which was apparently the runt. Often the last piglet born is dead so it was a blessing this little girl was alive.
Next day piggy disaster struck, again. In the morning, when I checked on them, the runt was barely breathing, her head was swollen, blood was dripping from her ear and she had a bloody nose. She was clearly a “squishing” victim. She hadn’t moved fast enough when Momma laid down. With only a 50/50 chance of survival, I gave her to the AirBNB guests who decided to take on the risk of nurturing an injured piglet back to life.
Well, it worked! The guests named her, “CeSquealia” (rhymes with Cecelia), fed her baby formula every three hours and gave her the run of the bathroom. CeSquealia’s face is still swollen but she has transformed from a lethargic half/dead piggy to a wild squiggling bundle of energy. Each day we put her in with her siblings to prepare for reintegration once she is fully healed. Each time we reunite them, Momma pig snorts and grunts as if to say, “Glad to have you back little one, where have you been?” Thankfully CeSqueqlia’s siblings also welcome her.
We hope CeSquealia will be well enough to permanently rejoin the litter by the time our guests leave. Although maybe I could advertise the apartment complete with baby piggy. Not only can our guests look out the window at fields of cows or collect chicken eggs. Now they can wake up every three hours to the squeals of a hungry piglet demanding to be fed. Who could ask for more?
Here is a video of CeSquealia giving piggy kisses: https://youtu.be/4JusiRK86t0