I had a new litter of pigs born last week. It’s always exciting to have some new little ones running around the farm. The last couple of weeks prior to delivery were nerve wracking. I calculated the due date wrong, so I spent about ten days expecting the litter at any moment. That’s what I get for using my memory and my fingers to calculate the due date instead of actually looking at the calendar. I even wound up being surprised when the litter did come because I looked at the calendar, then did the math wrong. Sometimes you can’t win for losing.
New litters are always a little sad for me. I don’t use farrowing crates for my sows. The good part of that is that the sow is free to get up, move around, and otherwise live her life in the way a pig should. The bad part is that I always lose a couple of pigs that could be saved by the crate. It is frustrating, but it’s the choice I have made.
At any rate, the litter is fine now. The sow (a first-time mother) has figured out how to be careful laying down, and the piglets have figured out how to stay clear. They are full of vigor now; they dash from place to place instead of just walking. Baby Tamworth pigs tend to be very reactive, so there is always a sprint to safety whenever I approach the piglets. This bunch is inquisitive, too. Once they figure out that I’m not going to bother them, the little pigs will come up and check out my boots if I stand still.
It is enjoyable to watch the sow and piglets move around the pasture. They make a little parade, with mama up front and the little ones trailing along after her. The sow is much tamer than the babies. Since I bring feed to her every day, she is always ready to come up and greet me. The sow approaches and the babies follow (at least, to a point).
The sex ratio on this litter is weird. I have four boars (boys) and only two gilts. I’m not sure how that worked out. It does make it a lot easier to decide which gilts to keep, though. I only have to pick one of two instead of one from five or six. I don’t have to pick any of the boars. They will all be sold, either as boars or as pork.