Earlier this month we welcomed our first new arrivals of 2021 when three of our sows farrowed.
At this time of year we bring the pigs inside to farrow, offering protection away from the elements for the sow and her young. The journey to get them in can be quite challenging as they are always apprehensive about crossing the electric fencing line (although the electric is off!). However on this occasion it was relatively simple and we successfully managed to entice them all into the farrowing barn with lots of food!
We all thought that Dotty – our pedigree Berkshire sow – would be first to farrow but how wrong we were! Daisy was the first swiftly followed, within a matter of hours, by Scilla, our Saddleback cross Oxford, Sandy, Black sow. Daisy had nine piglets and Scilla, seven. It was a busy 24 hours with one of us checking on their progress throughout the day and night!
Farming on a small scale enables us to keep a close eye on all our animals, and with the recent spell of extremely cold weather, we decided that the addition of a heat lamp at night would benefit the newborns – as you can see they loved it! The piglets will stay with their Mum’s until around eight weeks, at which point they will be wormed and weaned and continue their lives outdoors with plenty of space to roam around freely.
With one more sow – Dotty – still due to farrow we all waited patiently. We watched her build the most enormous straw nest and knew it wouldn’t be long. Sure enough that evening her labour began and within a few hours eight live piglets were born. The sheep, although slightly pertubed when Dotty initially joined them as their new neighbour, have now adjusted to having a pig next door!
With Spring just around the corner, lambing will start in the coming weeks but thankfully we will have a bit of a break before the early mornings and late evenings start again.