I figured I better update our blog since it has been three weeks since my last post. We lost our camera and we have been trying to find it so that we can show how our little piglets are doing. To refresh your memory, our sow delivered 12 piglets last month. Two were stillborn. Of those we had one runt and another that was what I call “runty”. Not a true runt but smaller and less energetic than the rest. After a week, we noticed that both of the smaller piglets weren’t doing so hot. We decided to bottle feed since they were not even making an attempt to nurse. It was a lot of work. We had them in the house in a box with a heat lamp at night. One night the runty piglet jumped out and began wandering around the house. I woke up at 3:30 in the morning with the faint memory of hearing a snort. I was trying to figure out what woke me up as I am normally a deep sleeper. Then I heard the snort again which now had me fully awake. I tuned on my bedside lamp and found the little guy trying to climb into our bed. I put it back in the box and was able to get back to sleep. Unfortunately, we ended up losing both of these little guys. I read somewhere that 90% of runts end up dying. It is sad, but part of life on the farm. The good news is that we have 8 very healthy and vigorous piglets that are coming along nicely.
In trying to research methods to save those two little piglets, we did come across a product that we will try in the future. It is basically Carol syrup loaded with vitamins and electrolytes. It is supposed to give weak piglets a little extra energy to give them a better chance of survival. It isn’t medication but just extracts from fruits and veggies.
We are extremely busy trying to get our garden in. In Vernon we have a very short growing season. I believe we only have an average of 90 frost free days. I am also trying to get our well installed with a new main water line and hydrants installed throughout the farm. This will make life a little easier in the winter. Last winter we had to drag 300’ of hose and then drain it everyday so that it wouldn’t freeze. In addition, the water pressure is greatly reduced after 300’ of hose and we actually had days so cold that the water would freeze in the hose as we were trying to fill up waterers. Since we are redoing our water lines, I figured it would be a good time to install a sprinkler system in the lawn. So, we tilled up our yard so that we can install a sprinkler system and get a good sized yard in place for the kids to play on. Hollie is scheduled to have our baby in two and a half weeks, so I am trying to tie up these projects before then. We will see how it goes.
We are learning (over and over again) the importance of having the right setup, tools, and facilities. Hopefully we will soon be able to justify the purchase of additional land. I would like to build better sorting pens, breeding pen, farrowing structure etc… I would like to have a building that is heated in the winter and cooled in the summer. Then our pigs can farrow in a more comfortable environment. We could also install a watering system that would prevent us from having to go out and break ice. Of course we would install doors so that the pigs can come and go as they please from pasture to the building if they need a break from the elements. One step at a time I guess…
Since a blog is boring without pictures, here is a picture from a couple of weeks ago. We decided that we needed a breather from the farm and went camping up Ophir Canyon. We had a good time and were able to sneak in a horseback ride while my parents graciously watched the boys back at camp.