This afternoon at 2pm I went to check on Lacy, my Saddleback sow to see if she was starting to farrow. I was greeted with the arrival of a piglet. Lacy was jsut beginning to give birth to the first of the eleven piglets that she eventually produced.
This is Lacy’s second litter and last time Lacy showed signs of aggression towards her piglets. I decided that I wouldn’t intervene straight away and would see what happened. All was ok until piglet number three found itself under lacy. I managed to move the sow and the piglet was luckily unharmed. At that point I decided that I would move the piglets to one side as Lacy kept standing and lying down through farrowing. By the time she had had five piglets I was having trouble keeping them confined to an area away from the sow as their natural instinct was to find the sows teats. When the piglets got close to Lacy’s face she seemed to snap at them which she did back in October with her first litter. I was worried for the safety of the piglets as I have heard that some sows can eat their piglets whilst they are farrowing. I wasn’t taking any chances, however keeping the five piglets away from the mother was not easy.
When Cagney, the other sow who had already pigged in the morning let her piglets suckle, Lacy laid on her side and it was at that moment that I saw my chance to introduce the piglets to Lacy. I was thrilled and relieved to find that she took them without becoming aggressive. She went on to have another 6 piglets who all seem to be doing ok.
Lacy took about 4 hours to have 11 piglets.
Last time my pigs farrowed, John (Farmer Giles) asked if I’d noticed whether the piglets went straight for the sows stomach and the teats. With this question in my, I observed the piglets closely and yes the piglets do head straight towards the sows stomach and if the sow is laid on her side it can be a matter of minutes after the birth that the piglet is suckling.
I do have some video footage which I will try to edit and upload soon, so watch this space for the pig video.