Sunday, May 9, 2010

NEW PIGGLETS!!!







We are proud to announce the arrival of 14 new piglets here on the Phelan Ranch!!! Below is a video of Rosebud and her piggies and further down are some pictures of Lunch Box and her little ones.

They were both bred to the boar Morris. You might remember him from a previous post. I sold him to a guy in Durant shortly after that post. Morris was a Hampshire and very friendly. (I think demeanor is one of the most important qualities in a pig.)

We actually kept our sows with the growing pigs until they looked pretty pregnant. Once they seemed to be getting close, we moved them into a separate paddock that was full of tall green grass. We didn't provide any kind of farrowing hut, but the ladies found a couple of great spots and made nests in the briars. We made a point not to spend to much time with them and only peered from a distance every now and then to check if they were in labor. Both sows had the pigs on their own while we were away. No shots were given, no teeth cut, we just let nature take its course.

Just a note:
I'm not a believer in the theory of evolution (and I stress believer because its a belief based on faith in science). The idea that we started out at the bottom of the ocean around a heat vent as very simple organisms and evolved onto humans (or insert any other theory here) is not something I would bet on. I do however believe that Natural Selection does occur and it is important to allow the strongest to survive. This is extremely important if you want to build a herd just like you desire. Think of it this way. Treat your pigs (and any other livestock) how you want to be able to treat them in the future. I'll call it the "Buttermilk" rule in place of golden. For instance, if you want your sows to farrow on their own in the pasture without cutting teeth or giving shots, then let them do just that. It will tell you a lot about the sow and her abilities and it will tell you a lot about the piglets and their genetics. If you pamper your sows and piglets right off the bat, then you can count on pampering them from that day forward. Be warned... you may lose piglets and even a sow when you first start, but with time you will have a stronger, more self-reliant herd of pigs.


video

Rosebud gave birth to 9 piglets and they are all still doing well. Despite being deemed "Lazy" by everyone here on the farm (and yes, she is lazy, but who cares... she is a pig) she seems to be a GREAT mother. She mostly lays around all day only getting up for food, drink, or relief.

Lunch box gave birth to 8 piglets but only 5 are still alive. Two were stillborn and we think she squashed the other one a couple days after birth. She is a good mother and is very calm when we come in and see them... not too protective, but very aware of our proximity to her pigs. She is a little large to be a first time mother, hence the reason she laid on one of her pigs. I think in the future, I'll be sure to breed sows earlier at a smaller size. Lunch Box just got to big for her own good.


Like Mother like Piglet... already friendly.


Doesn't Erin look good with a pig?



What a goofy smile... I guess happiness must express itself.
FINALLY!!! PIGLETS!!!