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Learning hard lessons about pig farming...

Posted 1/3/2011 8:43am by Julie Hurst / Roy Brubaker.

December 12 - 18

It's been a brutally bittersweet week here on the farm.  Four of our five sows gave birth this week during this deep freeze. We knew that having pigs arrive in December would require extra work to keep them warm and Roy and his dad had built boxes lined with non-flammable insulation and equipped with a heating lamp to keep the piglets warm.   We used wool to line the floor of the boxes to give them added warmth.   Roy began checking in on the sows during the night last week and finally early Monday morning the first ones arrived! The rest of the week is a blur as more piglets arrived, usually during the middle of the night with Roy playing the male version of a Doula for the sows.  It was a grueling week especially because inspite of all our efforts, we lost several little pigs to the cold.  We are finally catching up on our sleep and able to relax a bit as the piglets that have survived this week are now bright-eyed and perky and so very cute.  We have one more sow due to have piglets, but she seems about a week or two away.   We've learned a lot this week and I believe with our boxes, heat lamps, and new knowledge of  how even a well-timed blanket placed over the laboring sow can make a difference, we can avoid any more loss.   We definately feel a little stung and humbled, but also grateful for resiliance and patience of our sows who remained remarkably calm through all our efforts to keep them and their babies warm and comfortable.