The reality of keeping animals is that not all births are straight forward and complications do arise. However, as we do not produce on a massive scale at the smallholding, we are able to offer additional care when necessary as has been the case with Bubbles, our hand reared, house piglet.
Born at the end of October, Bubbles was one of nine piglets that Scilla, our saddleback cross Oxford, Sandy, Black sow gave birth to. However, unlike his healthy siblings we found him huddled in the sty with a nasty injury on his side (possibly caused by a larger pig treading on him) and quite weak.
We removed him from the sty, cleaned his wound, checked for any possible other injuries and let him rest before starting the difficult task of trying to get him to feed!
The early days were the most crucial and the most difficult but fortunately Tina and Jim’s persistence paid off and Bubbles took to the bottle and enjoyed his five feeds a day. Aptly named, as he produced bubbles from his nose when he fed, the piglet fed well, grew steadily and the wound slowly began to heal over the weeks that followed.
However, having grown used to the warmth of a house and lots of fuss and attention from us all, it was time to move him to his own barn outside where he could start to adjust to life as a piglet! By now, fully weaned, he had vegetables and old wellies to keep him entertained.
Gradually over the weeks that followed, he grew used to the outdoors and finally, at over 14 weeks old, we decided that his brothers should join him so he could start to socialise and lead a more normal pig life. After a few initial scuffles they all seem to have settled well though Bubbles is always the first to come say and hello at feeding time!