|We kept 6 sows on our farm and raised the piglets until they were about 240 lbs. each and then sold them to Hygrade in Tacoma WA. Thats the good news, the bad news was, a total of 3 sows wouldnt care for their piglets the first year and we had to hand raise them in the house. I have pictures! |
We baricaded off an area (my kitchen) put layers of cardboard over the floor and then a heavy layer of straw over that. Of course we had to number each one on its back to make sure all of them drank their bottle of raw cows milk from a nearby dairy, and how much they drank. I kept a notebook with a page for each piglet. Each litter really came to love me as I was their 'mother', but soon my legs were almost raw from them rooting against me every time I came in to feed them or make dinner for the family, so I had to begin wearing boots into their area.
After about 2 weeks, when they were eating a gruel, each litter was moved to an area in the basement and about 2 weeks later (and finally )they could go out into the pasture. they always remembered me, their mother, and would come running when they saw me. We had come to know several and even named them. I remember 'Leaping Lena', who was always jumping out of the basement pen and then there was that sweet blue eyed one that I hated to sell. She loved me. My German Shepherd would often jump into where ever the baby pigs were and sleep with them and also my black cat Belezbub, I think they thought these piglets were new members of our family.
I had taken two to school for show and tell. One that I took had no tail thanks to an angry sow and another was a runt. I also had a school class come to see them in the house. One little boy took a look at the straw and piglets all over and looking quite horified said 'we need to clean up this mess.'
Later another litter was born, to a nice sow, but there was a very tiny runt in the litter of new borns. I could see that she probably wouldnt make it so I brought her into the house and wrapped her in a small blanket and put her near the furnace but soon she was making little grunting noises. So after my husband went to bed I desided to hold her like I would a baby. she was quiet then and as time passed I became very sleepy and the chair was getting uncomfortable so I decided that as long as the baby was being quiet and my husband was asleep, Id go to bed, turn my back to my sleeping husband and still hold the little piglet close to me. It didnt work as almost as soon as I got situated in bed the baby began to grunt and my husband woke up horrified and shouted 'DO YOU HAVE THAT PIG IN OUR BED'. Well that was that, out I went back to the uncomfortable chair with the little one still in my arms.
Sadly she died later during the night, still warm and comfortable in my arms. After our first year of raising pigs we quit. Now we just raise one or two for our own use. Those days were hectic, yes, a lot of work, yes, but I still love pigs to this day and will cherish this memory.
Myra, from WA, entered 1999-12-31