When we last wrote, we were expecting the pigs to farrow any day. Well, we woke up Saturday morning (Feb. 16), I let the dogs out and they started barking their fool heads off immediately, so we knew something was up.
Sure enough, we had piglets, who were squealing and crying, which is what the dogs were barking at. When I looked into the Pig Palace, I could see all was not well, though. Hermione was laying on a squished piglet, which looked dead, and Ginny was on another. I got up my nerve to go in to see what I could do. I’d never seen piglets before, and dealing with dead ones was really icky.
I found several frozen piglets in the hay, buried. They were still alive, but barely. We brought three of them into the house, where I warmed them up in warm water, and started to bottle feed them. One of them died not a half hour later, and I wonder if it’s because I gave her Nutridrench, that I had on hand for sheep? I’ve read since to not give piglets sugar.
Of the two survivors, one was a vigorous eater from the beginning, and took to a bottle really well. The other was the larger of the two to start, but was just almost impossible to feed, either from a bottle or from a dish, which I got them eating out of around day three. I had some multi-species colostrum mix, which I gave them both for two days. I know it’s not as good as the real stuff, but it was something. I also gave them raw milk and started to mix it with yogurt.
They were both pretty happy and quite cute, running around the house with the pups. But then on day 7, we woke up to one of them unable to stand. I tried everything I could think of to save her, including an antibiotic because she was running a fever, but nothing worked. That really, really sucked. She died two days later.
However, life goes on, and we had one little piglet, who we’ve named Minerva, who was cute as can be and full of life and energy. (Minerva McGonigle is yet another Harry Potter name. What a perfect name for a pig!) We call her Minnie, and right now, she is two weeks old and living in the living room.
There’s an entire set of photos of her, here. I’ve never had a piglet in my house before, and though I am working now on transitioning her to the outside world, she is just the cutest little thing.
As for her mama, Ginny never had a milk let-down. We ended up with 6 dead piglets and 1 live — very, very bad. We called the vet and a local pig farmer for suggestions, and we now have a calcium drench on hand, as well as Oxytocin. Hermione is going to go any day now. I wish I had a separate pen to put her in, so that Ginny doesn’t squish piglets, which I know happened. I haven’t figured out what to do yet, and I’m hoping I still have a few days to figure it out.
The weather is warmer, at least, though we are supposed to have a horrible ice storm tomorrow. But we had temps at -15°F in the last few days, and I can’t imagine how few piglets would survive that. Next year, piglets in May, just like lambs. This sucks!