So remember when I made that big deal about NOT breeding Beulah again because I didn’t want to deal with piglets in the coldest part of our year? Yeah… she had other plans.
January 25 Jim went out to feed before going to bed (he had worked the night before). Sometime around 10:30 he sent me this picture.
Which unleashed pandemonium in our home. She ended up having 5, although she squished one little gilt and it didn’t make it. Jim and I flew in to make them appropriate housing since there were cold rains forecast which would spell certain death out in the open. So we modified a crate Jim had built into a hutch, braved Beulah’s wrath to move the piggies into the heated hover side and waited to see how that would go. One little piggie wasn’t very bright and kept leaving the heat lamp to wander around in the drizzle. He got overly chilled and we were fairly certain he was going to die so we brought him in. I had read that there is a very low survival rate for bottled pigs. Something like 15% or less. I don’t think it’s because they don’t nurse, because little piggie ate like a champ. I think it’s because they bite and their caretakers rapidly lose the desire to bottle feed a piranha. That little piggie nailed me several times… still sporting a big bruise on my forearm that still hurts! Happily we were able to reunite him with his siblings and Beulah didn’t seem to care that one of her brood had been gone overnight.
The little piggies are growing by leaps and bounds and surprisingly have been doing very well. It seems like everything that could go wrong has (other pigs broke into the pen, heat lamp broke twice, rain, mud, general ickiness) but these little ones are still thriving and Beulah, the champion sow that she is, has continued to be an excellent mother.