Two and a half weeks ago (to be precise), Mrs B. went into labour on a cold and breezy April afternoon. In all the years we’ve been breeding our pigs, this is only the second time that Mrs B. has birthed out during the daylight hours. We were grateful for this miraculous eventuality, but it didn’t detract from the fact that it was a very, very cold evening for sitting inside an unheated barn.
Despite our familiarity with the pig birthing process, it really never ceases to amaze and delight. Baby piglets really are extraordinarily cute little creatures and when 13 of them arrived hale and hearty, we couldn’t have been happier. Their teeny noses and plump little bottoms are one of the most pleasing things the human eye can behold.
Unfortunately, the weather was not in the mood to celebrate our basket of new arrivals and proceeded to lash us with winds, rain, snow and ice storms for the next two weeks. This necessitated keeping Mrs B. and the piglets tightly tucked away in the farrowing barn, for fear of wandering piglets getting caught in the cold and freezing. Mrs B. showed no signs of wanting to frolic in the ice rain, instead enjoying her post birth extra rations and the warmth and cosiness of her babymoon barn.
This weekend, however, brought with it the warmth and sunshine we had been dreaming of, through the long cold winter months. Thoughts of ice storms and snow banks were banished as the sun beat down, renewing our spirits and relieving our harrowed senses. The pig, with her babies, was released from her natal confinement and allowed to bask in the warmth of the sun, creating a mattress of warming delight out of the straw she lay on. The piglets had their first taste of outdoor life, snuffling and snuggling in a big pile that almost seems to move as one.
Allow me to illustrate.
If I could further press my point…
While the piglets had fun in the sun, their parents took the opportunity to soak up some rays too. But, of course, their Mama always had a watchful eye on her little ones.
This may be the last batch of piglets under our care for a while, as our friends are taking custody of our breeding pair this year in order to give us a well earned winter off. Though I’m very much looking forward to the prospect of a family vacation and some down time, I can’t say I’ll be happy to see them go. The pigs, and their offspring, are a continual source of joy and pleasure to us. We are lucky indeed to share our lives with such wonderful creatures.