Sunday, April 10, 2016

Ready to Pop

We had to do some livestock rearranging over at FB's.  The sheep are due to start lambing in the coming week and we gave them more room for the job.

They now have access to half of the barn, which is about 170 feet long, total.  There are a couple of pens available to place new families for the first couple of days so that mom and babies can all get acquainted away from the crowd.

These are the two "X" sisters, Flora and Zinnia, born a year apart, but nearly identical.  Both lambs were born here and kept as part of the flock.  These two will have grown some of the really nice fleeces.

We moved calves to the other end of the barn and, hopefully won't have to use the empty pen next to the pigs.  No sense tempting a couple of very rowdy, 200 pound, predatory omnivores with tender, young lamb.  Pigs WILL eat anything they can catch and these two could outrun a cheetah.

FB thought she might lose the white pig last week when she suddenly developed pneumonia.  We have no idea why and the black pig never had any trouble.  Maybe it is the crazy weather changes we keep having.  The only good thing about the pig being so sick is that it slowed her down enough to get some antibiotics into her.  Handling pigs is a real nightmare.

Pigs are craftily intelligent and, if trained from birth, can be made into pets.  These are NOT pets.  Pigs are fast, powerful, aggressive, amazingly greedy and can be extremely dangerous to work with.  Fortunately, she is 100% recovered now and back in raring form; ready, able and willing to eat any hapless lambs she could sink her tusks into.

Losing a big pig like this would have been a real blow, both emotionally and financially.  Luckily, antibiotics still work.  This is an organic farm and we do not use antibiotics or any other drugs on a routine basis.  However, if an animal gets sick or injured, we treat it.  We do not believe in letting anyone suffer for the sake of semantics.  When this pig is butchered, we will keep the meat for ourselves.  It will be perfectly safe to eat, but it will not be for sale.

I think this will be the first to pop....

The earliest she could be due is Monday, but I'm not so sure she'll make that far.

FB calculated the original due date at April 17th.  The rest might make it.

We generally prefer to have the lambs born in May.  However, FB and a neighbor used the same ram to breed the ewes last year and the Ram took it upon himself to break out from the neighbor's fence and come visiting a month early.

By next weekend, there will likely be many new babies bouncing around.

These girls can't possibly get much more pregnant.


  1. Thank goodness my pig is better!!!
    According to my calculations, I expect the first lamb tomorrow, April 11th, as the ram joined the flock on November 17, 2015. Everything is ready for the lambs arrival!!

  2. I was threatened with the whipping of the century if my grandmother ever caught me anywhere near the pig pen.

    This was especially hard to comply with when there were piglets. One (lucky) day a litter escaped through a hole on the fence and were cavorting in the tobacco field. (!!!)

    I closed in on a fat little squealer who became stuck - half in and half out of the fence hole trying to escape my clutches. My greedy little hands were on his behind, prying him out - the dream of hugging on a cute little piglet about to come true - when the sow came roaring towards me and the (flimsy) wire fence. I popped the piglet back through the hole and ran. Saving myself, sadder but wiser.

  3. Looks like you're going to have a busy week or so coming up!

    I have a hard time thinking of pigs as being voracious enough to go after live animals, but I know they are.

    1. These pigs have been okay so far, but I have had pigs kill my chickens before.

  4. Holy Smoke the ewes are HUGE!

  5. Can't wait! There better be lots o' pictures :-D.

  6. I have a long scar on my belly from working with pigs. They can seem slow and easy going, but move lighting fast when it suits them. I loved my sows, but I wasn't a fan of the boars, even before the goring! I reckon that if pigs had anything but those crappy little hooves, they'd rule the world by now. :D