A day of freezing rain and yet more ice. The yard was bad again this morning but by lunchtime thawed back to large puddles. the two young litters of 20 piglets are doing well now. The first lot, born last Monday are starting to play and root about the stable and have totally sussed that the best place to be when they have had a suckle is back under the heat lamp. Their mother insists on collecting every bit of bedding she can and adding it to her ‘nest’, even though we try to cover the cold floor for the babies to prevent a chill. However I think this litter can now manage with some bare floor as they know a) where the milk is and b) where the warmth is.
The youngest litter, born yesterday, are also making good progress. Surprisingly, they are much heavier and bigger than the first litter and they are beginning to grasp that under the heat lamp is a good place to be. Every time we feed the mother or are passing by the stable and they seem full and content we lift them and put them under the lamp ( some do squeal loudly). The other litter learnt to go under the lamp within a day, this group is taking slightly longer but some of them are just starting to go back under the lamp by choice now. Their mother is not at all bothered about making a nest which is just as well as the straw covered floor in her stable will protect them overnight until they willingly go under the lamp.
Traditional rare breed pigs are what we keep here, and our methods are very pig friendly and not at all intensive.
In the big cattle sheds beside the house the calves are quietening down, we have had some noisy nights as they call for their mothers. There is a bit of bullying in the cattle yards too, so we will have to move some cattle around to counter this although to a certain extent the animals have to sort out who is top dog, or should I say cow ( except the cows are actually out in the field).