What a great time we had at our annual hog roast. This years theme was Pig Pickin’ Lip-Sync-In’ party, and yes that means there was a lotta of good singers. We pulled out the old wagon for our stage and everyone from young to old came with their music to sing to everyone. Great fun and awesome hog. This year we went old school and dug a pit, burned wood for hours and hours and then buried the hog. Twelve-fifteen hours later we dig up the hog and yum yum, you can’t beat the awesomeness!!(I think that’s a word) We definitely will do this again! Even our puppy had a good time!!
What a crazy time here on the farm. I have gone back to working after 15 years off with my kiddos, and wow it is hard to keep up with things like this website when I have so much less time at home. As far as our pigs, we definitely haven’t slowed up in that department. We have continued to travel and have obtained 2 more black gilts(Liberty and Kinnedy), another red and blue sow(Ruby and Bella) and a blue boar (Buster). We have also kept one of our green boar piglets to help with the breeding (Rebel). So we are ready to start 2016 with all 4 color groups of sows and all of the color groups of boars so that we can offer breeding pairs and trios. Love our GOS pigs and ready for a great year. We will start farrowing for 2016 in mid march and so excited to meet every last one of the piglets!!
Well, the rain came and seemed to take up all of the spring and most of the summer. Now that school is almost here we haven’t had rain in a couple weeks. The sunflowers are looking great, but getting a bit dry, but what can I expect with living in Ohio. We are looking forward to farrowing other colors besides green within the next month!!! As you know if you have read any of my posts that we have made several trips to acquire different genetics. “Georgia” is looking good and she will give us our first black group litter. We also have “Ruby” and “Bella” our red and Blue group gals to deliver along with her.
Our 3rd Gloucestershire Old Spots litter came on 3-30. Mama Charlotte had delivered 5 babies by the time I checked in on her. Her delivery lasted from 5:00 till 9:00pm. Her nest was the biggest nest I have seen. In fact she used stones and the straw we had for her and even packed dirt to build her massive nest. Very impressive is what I told her. By the time she was finished she had delivered 11 babies, and one didn’t make it. They are so funny to watch as they run down the “mountain” and play and then run back up it to nurse.
York was the next of our Gloucestershire Old Spots to farrow. This time I went out to do the feeding on a Sunday morning and by 7:30am she had already delivered one!!! Not knowing when she had delivered it I waited for an additional half hour before exploring what the problem was. I reached and found that the head was stuck at her pelvis. So I carefully got the head unstuck and out it came, and unfortunately the third piglet shot out at the same time. The third one was unresponsive so the 2nd babe must have been in there for bit longer and took all of the oxygen. She continued having piglets until 9:30am, with very little help from me, except to wipe the babies faces clean when they came out to clear the film from their little noses. She ended up delivering 12 and only 10 made it. Also the next morning she had laid on one of the little rascals!! So she is raising 9 healthy porkers!!!
Massie was the first sow to have her litter. On March 27th she had her first piglet at 8:00pm. Yep it was gonna be a late one!!! She is one of our older pigs so knew because of her age and size she had lost some of the muscles to push properly. I learned a lot from last year. Watch her tail and listen to her breathing. When her tail moves up and she holds her breath she is trying to push. With her, she gets them to her pelvis, and with just my gloved and lubed hand I can grab and pull out the piglet. She has lots of room, but her ability to push has dwindled. By 11:45 I was very tired from a long day and had waited for a half hour and she was showing no sign of anymore. So I retired to the house to announce she had delivered 7 healthy babies. Upon first light I went out to see how they were doing and yep, she did deliver one more and it did not make it. This was a little upsetting, but very common when dealing with sows and farrowing. Look how cute!!!
Well with farrowing season upon us we had to figure out what to do the boars. We now have Wilbur-our green boar, Hillbilly-our blue boar, Flatt-our red boar, and Sota-our Black boar. We used to have 2 young boars and we would throw them in the same field and they would fight and fight for dominance, last year was not pretty, poor Hillbilly got beat by Wilbur. So since we have 4 larger boars we figured it would be a BAD idea to put them together. We decided they won’t be without the ladies for long, so we built 4 pens for them to take their break from importance on the farm. They were still very unhappy and pushed quite a bit on the panels that separated them, but after an entire day, they seemed to not mind their neighbors. It should only be a couple months and by then the grass will be green and they can be turned in with the ladies to…”Make more Bacon”…lol!!
Sota is our last pig to complete all of the Gloustershire Old Spots color groups. He is a Black group boar, and yes we went and picked him up from Minnesota, so it was only fitting to name him “Sota”. He is a big boy, born 10/2012 and probably in the 5-600 pound range. This will be perfect for our older Green group girls. He was very easy to load, we threw a flake of straw down to make his step smaller, and up he went. He was not the happiest camper on the 12 hour trip home. Every time we stopped for gas we would try and give him water, and he would immediately flip over the bucket or anything we would put in for him and grunt and make all kinds of noise. We got quite a few looks from the bystanders at the gas stations!!! The drive from Minnesota was beautiful and if you ever get the chance to go through Illinois and see the wind farms it’s pretty cool to see.
With spring officially arriving tomorrow we are all busy at work getting ready for our new piglets to arrive. By next weekend we will have lots of new little ones to photograph. Getting heat lamps ready and mommas pens ready to go. We have individual pens available for each momma and once the time has come they choose their pen and that becomes hers, and surprisingly everyone understands. They are still free to go in and out of their pens, and we put a board high enough that the piglets can’t escape for at least a week. This gives mom the ability to go out and do her business and come back. It also allows us to assure that we have time to tag all the babes before they co-mingle with all of the others. Lots of work, but soooo exciting, we’ve waited 3 months 3 weeks and 3 days, and yes they almost always deliver around 3:00 in the morning!!! The countdown has begun!!!
We are so excited to have a Gloucestershire Old Spots Black Group Gilt to be part of our farm family. She arrived today, thanks to Amy’s travels!!! “Georgia” made the trip form Georgia to Ohio in 48 hours!!!! This completes all of the color groups for the girls on the farm….we need one more, a black boar to have all the colors!!! We are working on that one as we speak. Here’s a picture of “Georgia” and make sure you check out under Meet our Pigs for her pedigree information!!