First Parity for Beans

Beans was the runt in a litter, yet we decided to give her a chance as a sow. She gave birth to perfectly healthy piglets with no pre- or post-weaning mortalities, no disease, no need for teeth clipping and no crushing. Beans is a wonderful sow.

Beans (born June 25, 2019) serviced by Pork on January 30, 2020
(Both 7 months of age)
Farrowed May 24, 2020 (115 days gestating) at 9:00PM

A brown piglet is born. Beans farrowed next to the creepspace. Somehow, she knew how to use the creepspace because she was born in this same pen.

May 24, Sunday

At 9:00PM I saw Beans moving nesting material near the creepspace, then she turned around and lay down. By 10:00PM I could see a big brown piglet. At 11:10PM, Beans got up, some piglets squealed then she lay down again. By 12 midnight I could hear Beans grunting as she nurses her piglets. She starts nursing again 15 minutes later. Another 15 minutes later, I heard some piglets fighting but Beans quieted them down by grunting louder (perhaps, producing more milk?)

Through the fence of the pen, it is possible to see the piglets nursing.

The fan was on throughout farrowing which I believe encourages Beans to farrow near the creepspace and at the same time discourages the piglets from wandering away from the creepspace. By 4:00AM I turned off the fan as the temperature became cooler.

Beans in her nest with her day old piglets.

May 25, Monday

6:30AM Beans ate a light meal, water then returned to nursing her piglets. There are 6 piglets. A small litter but I am happier about small litters because it is less stressful for the sow and crushing incidents are less likely.

Beans is agile and flexible and responds quickly to piglets squealing. At 3:50PM, a piglet was squealing because it fell over on its back and couldn’t get up. It managed to get up after a couple of seconds. Beans got up startled wondering what had happened. When she lay down, her backside pressed on a resting piglet, it squealed so Beans got up to allow the piglet to escape.

Early on piglets seem to have learned to avoid their mother perhaps for fear of crushing.

Beans nursing piglets in the nest she built next to the creepspace.

May 26, Tuesday

Beans ate much better today. Her appetite is back to normal. Temperature is not elevated. I applied iron supplements on her teats while the piglets were nursing. I saw Beans panic a bit when she accidentally stepped on a piglet.

May 27, Wednesday

I saw Beans playing! She was running playfully after the piglets. I was worried she might step on them but she is very agile and careful. The piglets also know how to use the creepspace for protection.

Pinky Boar’s tusk trimming was scheduled for today. Despite the presence of people and the noise, Beans was not badly affected. She stayed in one corner of the pen protecting her piglets. I gave them food and forage to distract their attention from the tusk trimming.

Piglets sleeping together.

May 28, Thursday

I saw Beans playing again, which is a good sign after the noise and stress of yesterday’s tusk trimming (the nearby pen about 10 meters away). Beans mode of play is by jumping in the air and turning at the same time. She seemed to do this to attract the piglets’ attention.

Piglets in the creepspace are excited to go out the escape hatch.

May 30, Saturday

Beans was playing again, running around the pen and barking. The piglets have just discovered the different and more attractive soil found just out the escape hatch. I noticed that one of the brown piglets had a “gash” on its left flank. The gash looks like a skin had been pulled away and the wound already healing/drying. It is very difficult to tell what it is or what caused it. Could’ve been an accident with the sow or a sharp object in the pen or the escape hatch/piglet confinement area.

Piglets come out through the escape hatch and have a safe confined area that opens to the garden where they can forage and play.
Piglets playing just outside the farrowing pen.

Some important observations

Teeth clipping was unnecessary. We had no nursing difficulties. Fighting took place as usual amongst litter mates, but the sow was able to control the fighting. Piglets were very adventurous, not afraid of our presence yet careful and wary when wandering outside the pen. Once the piglets start wandering too far towards dangerous sections of the garden (for example near the neighbours where there are dogs), I start to close the piglet pen. This is at around 3-4 weeks of age. By 3 weeks of age the piglets are eating whatever their mother eats, testing new things to eat.

Beans nursing her piglets. Beans is happy, relaxed and content.

July 18, Saturday

Beans appeared to be in heat. She was anxious, made deep but soft growl-like vocalizations, and kept looking towards Pinky Boar in a pen about 12 meters away. So I decided to separate her from her piglets July 19. I took her to the pen next to Pinky and she seemed very excited about it!

Playing with the weaned piglets!

A day before weaning, I gave the piglets a herbal concoction to prevent diarrhea. The piglets usually get diarrhea 3 days after I’ve separated them from their mom. But this time, no diarrhea at all. Herbal medicine works! I didn’t need to give them any anti-scour medicine or antibiotics.

This is ABC, Avocado, Bayabas (Guava), Caimito (Star Apple). Coffee leaves ma be used instead of Caimito. Leaves from these trees are cut up and boiled. A decoction is made and given to piglets. I started giving ABC to the piglets a day before they were weaned. Usually, when piglets are weaned, they suffer diarrhea on the third day, and depending on the situation, may continue on until 7-14 days. This is detrimental to the piglets’ health. Without mother’s milk which has natural antibodies, the piglets’ digestive systems may become colonised by bacteria from the environment. Often, anti-scour medicine containing antibiotics are given to piglets. However, natural remedies such as ABC are better.

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