After all of our patient waiting, sow number two, otherwise known as Large Marge, finally gave birth to her piglets. We were able to witness the birth of all seven of her babies and kept her calm as she repositioned herself during her strong contractions.
Marge had seven beautiful piglets, five of them black like her, and two with both black and pink markings. Two of the piglets have stripes like a tiger making them easy to distinguish from their siblings and supremely cute.
Unfortunately Marge didn't turn out to be Mother of the Year; she became aggresive towards her newborn piglets and essentially abandoned them. Things don't always go as planned and sadly we had to separate the piglets from their mother. We made sure that all of the piglets had a chance to get some colostrum before putting them in a stall in the barn under a heating lamp.
We've never had to bottle feed any of our animals so this was new territory for us. We spent quite a bit of time with the babies making sure that they got the hang of sucking from the bottle and then made a plan for the rigorous feeding schedule ahead of us that night.
The first night was the hardest as the piglets really could not drink much at a time. The next day Chris and I looked at each other with sleep in our eyes remembering the days when we were up in the night with our boys as infants. We don't miss those days but this has been an important reminder of how fragile life is.
Certainly we wish that Marge could have cared for her babies and we could have used one less chore to do at this busy time, but we are grateful for these little lives and for the experience this situation gives to us as farmers.
This week we started brooding our second batch of 500 broiler chicks, 150 turkeys, the first batch of broilers went out on pasture and the cows and sheep are in their daily roatations now. We could not have survived this past week without family and friends so we thank the big kids for taking on evening feedings and our neighbors Gin and Megan for taking the graveyard shift...we love you all!