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Entered By: Mark
Entry Date: 2007-07-14 00:56:25
Subject: New Piggies

Today we noticed that one of our pregnant sows was looking a little haggard. She had no appetite and didn't want to get off the floor. We figured she was due a few days earlier than we expected (we record the date that our sows mate on our computer and add 114 days to it). So we watched her all day. This evening Hannah and I walked to the pulperia to get a coke. When we returned it was dinner time but Paula said the sow was getting ready to give birth (some kind of discharge). John and I walked back to see what was going on. Nothing had happened yet and soon it started raining. We found shelter under the new, unoccupied pig house. We figured it was going to be an all night vigil with births starting around their normal time of 4:30 AM. We waited for some kind of noise but heard none. Faith came down with Lauren to see what was happening. She walked over to the sow's house and said, "Lauren, come here, she has one". We figured she was kidding as she tends to do and she had a little grin anyway. After a few minutes we looked on and found that one had been born. So we all gathered in the same stall and watched for more. We were very cautious to pull the pigs out of the way when the mother was walking around because in the first two litters we lost at least a pig in each as the mothers stepped or sat on them. We were also watching to see if a pig was born still encased in its sac (placenta), meaning that could not breathe. After a few more were born we did have one born in its sac, which we quickly broke and removed. Another was born with a sac but after that, they were sac-free. After about six were born, Lauren decided she wanted to be part of the action. She began pull the pigs free of the mother, breaking the umbilical cord so that the pigs could get around to nurse. Early on we made some bleach water to wash our hands in after we touched a pig. We used it often. When it was all said and done, we had 11 pigs! We are hoping and praying that the mother does not step on any or lay on them as there is still a danger of that. Earlier this year we read something about increasing the fertility of the sows by feeding them abundantly while they are nursing. If the sow receives enough food, she will likely go into heat earlier (eight days after weaning) and have more pigs in her next litter. Looks like that bit of research paid off! Thank you, Lord!

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