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Blog 3 – What’s new on the Farm

Hello everyone, since the last blog was written, there have been a few things happen as we prepare for the coming of spring.  The pig enclosures have been upgraded with new gates and better sleeping quarters. 

Buddy checking the new gate

Cleo and Cher now have individual enclosures, which are next to Buddy. Currently the three are intermingling. Yes, you guessed it! We are hoping to produce more bacon seeds for processing.

More Bacon seeds on the Way!!

For most of Cleo and Cher’s life in 2018, the girls were living together and in a mobile pen. We kept them busy rooting up a specific area for future development. After Cher farrowed and the babes were old enough, Cleo and Cher, with her piglets were moved into their new homes. 

We had one piglet, “Pokerdot” leave a number of weeks ago to her forever home. We all miss her funny antics. To be honest, I find it hard to say goodbye to an animal that has been part of the farm and part of my life, whether it is for 6 weeks, 6 months or 6 years. There is a special place in my heart for each and every animal that has been part of our farm. 

The Farm saw a loss of Muscovy hens and ducklings this year to predators. This is certainly one of the challenges of allowing animals to free range. Sadly, we say goodbye and continue on. Extra time spent with a grieving flock seems to keep spirits up. We combined the young ducklings with a few young chicks. 

As time draws closer, the farm is preparing for planting and irrigating the crops. Planning the next vegetable garden and speculating our next steps to growth. 

Cheers for now, 

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Blog 2 – Piglets 2 weeks old

Oh my! I believe Blog 2 must have gone on winter vacation….  The piglets are around 5 months old now. I will post this Blog even though it happens to be outdated and waiting for its final edit.  Please stay tuned for the next Blog – coming soon!

October 25, 2018

To give you, our readers an update on the new piglets, who turned two weeks old on October 21st.

I dare not over extend my morning ‘smile-time’ with these little *boars and *gilts. Mama Cher has been very mellow in allowing me to mingle with her young ones. I keep a watchful eye on Cher, jumping at her command. After all, she is the one in charge. Only twice, in the last two weeks has Cher voiced a very assertive and powerful baritone snort.  It was the first time I had heard a snort of this intensity from her. It was very clear; I had overstayed my visitation rights in those first few days of *farrowing. May I say, at that point, I quickly but calmly stepped away from the little one’s, talking with Cher as I abandoned my self-appointed post.

The piglets have started playing and jumping around. They are so comical to watch. One *piglet starts by running the length of the pen and then another piglet decides to join in and then another! All of a sudden the group of them are running this way and that way, running into each other, snorting, knocking each other down, creating chaos. Then, as quickly as it started, it stops. All at once, the piglets freeze in place, looking as if they were statues, their ears alert, waiting for a signal from their Mama Cher over the noise that Cleo was making (Cleo is Cher’s sister). I didn’t hear the warning sign from Mama Cher, which the piglet’s ears certainly did and are so tuned into.

It can be a little disheartening watching the piglets vowing for a spot in the heap to take their nap. If I dare, I will reference them to Gremlins; they are extremely persistent, sneaky and comical all at the same time, while they compete for that perfect “warm” spot. They know exactly where they want to rest their growing bodies. They stop at nothing to get to their desired spot amongst the *litter. The first piglet dug its nose into the straw and laid down, then another, then another, squishing together as closely as possible.

All of a sudden, there were two crawling on top of the piglets in the bottom row. I’ve decided, after watching the complete process several times now, the idiom should have been named “pig pile” and not “dog pile”. I’ve seen puppies curl up against each other, but not pile on top of one another like these piglets have done. One little piglet happened to be at the very bottom of the “pig pile”, with two layers on top of him. He let out a squeal, not a single piglet moved. He kept squealing and wriggling until he worked his way out. As this piglet crawled out, he stood up and turned around, climbing onto the top of the four piglets that were once above him. As he continued to climb up, I snickered to myself.  Once he settled down, his bottom was right next to their noses – I thought, that serves them right for squishing the poor little guy. I’m pretty sure he must have been thinking the same thing as I saw him wiggling in and settling down into his new spot.

The smartest piglet of the bunch however, had three quarters of its body covered with straw and was snuggled up to the next piglet in line. This little piglet was so well hidden and snuggled under the straw, I am not sure if the other’s knew he was there. Take a look at the picture below and see if you can spot him, Good Luck.

Not to worry, the other critters who reside at Kelly Mountain Farm are doing well, enjoying their free range activities and time in the pool.

*Definitions:

  1. Farrowing is a term specific to swine that refers to the action of giving birth.
  2. A baby pig is called a “piglet”. The collective noun is a “litter” or “farrow” of piglets.
  3. Boar: Intact male pig used for any breeding purpose. Gilt: Young female that has not farrowed her first litter.

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October 8, 2018

I’ve dug in the dirt, planted seeds, painstakenly hand weeded beds upon beds of garlic. Had my hands covered in compost mixing it into the dirt to give rejuvination to the soil. I’ve watched chicks hatch in an incubator and I’ve raised chicks from a day old that arrived by post. To be part of, and to see a birth, is the most amazing part of life. Early this morning I was priviledged to be part of one of the gilts first litter. I wasn’t there for the beginning of the delivery process and didn’t even know what was going on while I slept, although before calling it a night, I knew something should be happening during the next few hours. The main farmhand was on duty and when I awoke later in the evening he explained the first piglet was born at twelve thirty a.m. I awoke around two a.m. thinking I needed to be with the gilt. It was approximately an hour later that I finally crawled out of bed, getting dressed and walking down to where the two gilts are housed.  I started speaking to Cher (the farrowing gilt) as I approached her enclosure and climbed over the fence to see what was happening. There were piglets! I saw twelve, maybe thirteen squirmy, beautiful creatures. I found it difficult to count so many moving bodies at one time.

Now, you never want to trust a pig! It doesn’t matter how tame or friendly a pig is. Always be aware they are the one in charge and stay ready to move at a moments notice. Don’t get me wrong, we love our pigs and they love us, it just happens to be, how it is.

I ducked down under the overhanging two by four and went into Cher’s personal space. I took the time to sit and watch these small creatures searching for their spot to suckle. I am not sure if I created more tension being there or not and having Cher most comfortable may have been an issue for better or worse. She seemed to be having difficulty preparing for the next birth. Sadly, the piglet was born still. All of a sudden the farmhand appeared, we discussed the dead piglet and how to handle the situation. About 10 minutes later, there was another piglet born, fresh and ready to find the warmth of its mother. Then another piglet! The excitement was over, I tried three attempts at counting how many piglets had arrived with little success.

To conclude, approximately at ten minutes to five, it was all over.  Once the remaining membrane was arriving and the hardest part over, I headed for bed at ten minutes to five.