Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Pigs: Surprise! Piglets!

I guess the post about Mr. Farmer learning how to make English Muffins will have to wait. The moving of the escape-artist feeder pigs to their new home isn't even going to be a post. As it turns out, these are not the most interesting things to happen this week after all.

On Monday, July 11, 2011, Mr. Farmer and Young Master Farmer packed up the feeder pigs and moved them to the Beta Site for fattening. The fence was ready and electrified, and the pigs were happy to be out of those dog crates and running around. As the men went about feeding the pigs, they noticed that Wilma sniffed at the food momentarily then wandered disinterestedly back to the hut. Young Master Farmer followed her back to the hut and called out, "Daddy? Wilma doesn't look right." Daddy replied, "What's the matter?" and Young Master Farmer said, "You have to come see." When he came to see he saw Wilma in the hut with four squirming baby piglets!

Wilma and Her First Litter

What followed was a flurry of activity: finding rubber gloves, calling everyone with the news, checking to see if more were on the way (nope), sexing the babies, making sure they were eating, and making sure Wilma was alright. All was well with the piglets that we didn't expect until October, so we set about the business of solving the mystery of Wilma's pregnancy.

We have two theories about how Tiffany managed to do the deed. The first possibility is that he got her through the chain link fence that divided the males and females prior to the installation of the center pen that held the feeder pigs. The other possibility is that he was quick about his work during his brief freedom while that center pen was being built. Our partner, who built that center pen, swears that he and the girls only fought while they were together, but, then again, he was a little busy at the time.

Now we are on piglet watch for Mamas, who appears further developed than Wilma is. She was showing signs before Wilma was, and she looks somewhat uncomfortable, so we are keeping a close eye on her. Oh yeah, and the little baby piggies are so cute!!!