We have been waiting and watching for signs of impending piglets for a couple of weeks. This weekend, we could see that Rosalie’s milk had come in and we figured it’d be any time now. We hung around all weekend so we wouldn’t miss the arrival, but by late afternoon on Sunday, we figured we could spare an hour and a half to go see the end of the antiques market. It is just a few miles away, and we couldn’t linger since it was closing. When we got back, we checked on Rosalie first thing. She was lying down in her bed of straw, and breathing heavily. But wait! What was that? Two little pink piglets were rustling around in the straw by her belly, looking for some milk!
For a first-time mother, Rosalie was a pro. She had spent all morning building a nice soft nest out of straw. She lay down with her feet braced against the fence and her backside well clear of the barn wall so none of her piglets would get smooshed. The boys grabbed towels and we called the neighbors and our friend Ben, and then we sat and waited. It took about 15-20 minutes for each one to come out. The boys toweled them off and set them down, and watched with wonder as those little squirmy piglets trotted off to find milk.
We were hoping for 7-8 live piglets. We ended up with 12! They are all nursing and Rosalie seems pleased with the company, though they are quite demanding. When she gets up for a drink or to move, they all run around like little chaos makers and sometimes they’ll run right under her right when she’s lying down. When a 3 pound piglet gets sat on by a 300 pound sow, it squeals something awful! Luckily, we were there to see this drama unfold. Each time Rosalie tried to lie down, one or another piglet would be in the wrong place. We could see that she was trying to avoid them, but they were persistent little wigglers. Finally we decided to split them up into two batches. We made a nursery in a trough filled with sawdust, and are rotating them in and out with mom every couple of hours. So far, so good!