Saddleback Sow Has Nine Piglets

I am delighted to say that Cagney, my Saddleback sow has had nine healthy piglets.

On Tuesday tea time I placed Cagney in the farrowing crate as she had milk when I squeezed her teats. I was able to do this on my own as Cagney is a very placid and gentle sow. It wasn’t long before she had her first piglet.

This is Cagney’s third litter. The second litter she farrowed unaided and before I got to the barn as it was in the early hours. In some ways it is better when you are not there as the sow and piglets just get on with it. However it is always good to be there so that you can assist if a piglet needs help or the sow is becoming aggressive like Lacy did over a week ago. With Lacy biting one of her piglets whilst she was farrowing I became very nervous when Cagney started to farrow. Once bitten twice shy if you’ll excuse the pun.

Cagney was very restless and after the first piglet was born she kept turning round and I thought that she might snap at the piglet so I decided to put the piglet in a box. I gathered each piglet into the box under the lamp as they were born.

When the piglets are born they instinctively start to search for the teats within minutes of being born. I let each piglet do this for a few minutes so that Cagney would know that the piglets were there.

The first five piglets arrived quite quickly but then there was a long gap and I had to put my hand in to check that the piglet wasn’t stuck.

Farrowing pigs is always difficult because you never know how many piglets they will have.

When cagney had her 7th piglet there was alot of cleansing which is a sign that the farrowing is over. However her behaviour was unchanged and she seemed to still be having contractions and pushing.

Another two piglets arrived and then as Lacy was feeding her piglets Cagney started to cleanse. Once she had done this I let her rest for a bit and then took out a piglet and let it try to nuzzle at the back of Cagney. I was very nervous as I didn’t want to release the piglets for Cagney to attack them. I got a stick and pretended that the stick was a piglet and moved it around near Cagney’s face. She looked at the stick but didn’t snap at it. I thought that it would be safe to let the piglets go in with Cagney. I gently emptied them from the box and there was a lot of grunting and squealing and then Cagney laid on her side and the piglets started to suckle. When they first go to the teats it is interesting to watch as they swop teats and try to find one that they are happy with. I stayed to make sure all was well and then went to bed at 2.45 in the morning.