Haystack Farm

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Pigging

Our sows have become surprisingly enthusiastic when it comes to meal times. They actually break into a run to get from the building to the trough. I'm hoping this is a sign they were both bred by the boar and they have the pregnancy munchies. We'll have to get some more alfalfa hay in to them this weekend for between meal snacking.  If they both took we could see babies as early as the first week ...in April. They'll be farrowing in their current shelter in the bush pen. The piglets will have safety corners with heat lamps. Hopefully all will go well. We'll have to do rock-paper-scissors if one of use has to go in there and help one of the piglets. Our sows are sweet as pie but our experience has shown pigs are no different from other species if you mess with their babies. Not to mention they are lightning fast. I guess the up side is they can't jump, or could they? We did have sow bursting with piglets jump the fence at the front of her stall when we put her in to farrow a couple of years ago. She had never been in a barn and wasn't so sure she liked it. There are two nice things about them giving birth where they are currently. The first is for the sows so they don't have to adjust to being penned up in the barn. The second is for us so we don't have to shovel the 10 tonnes of manure out of the barn after they move out to forage.  We used to clean out the straw regularly while the sows were still in there. It was a bit stressful though as you were always scouting an escape route. Sows are protective of their babies for sure, but they sure know how to bark up a storm if you mess with their nest too. A couple years ago we had a particularly jittery sow, best mom we ever had, but it was at that point we decided risking life and limb was not necessarily a must and that giving them new straw worked just as well. The other shoe drops on that plan when you go to clean the barn a month later. We should have been offering our customers authentic farm experience days around that time. Nothing says authentic farm like moving manure!

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