Plants, Fruits, Veggies, Harvests of the Season (February)

Turmeric
Ducklings

Plants, Fruits, Veggies, Eggs of the Seasons (January)

Eggs, Calamansi, Mustard Greens, Okra, Winged Beans

Sow Number 3’s Fifth Parity

Number 3’s Fifth Parity
Serviced by Pinky Boar March 1, 2019
Farrowed June 25, 2019

May 29, Number 3 was transferred to the Maternity Pen. She ate plenty of pineapples. She looked happy and comfortable. By evening, she started that characteristic grunting sound, as if calling piglets to suckle. This could be a sign of hormonal changes.

Sow Number 3 in the maternity pen, some 3 weeks before farrowing.

June 7, Number 3 was given an anthelmintic (Levamisole Hcl).

June 8, Number 3’s vulva was swollen. She had this problem several times before but not this close to farrowing. I notice that she never had this problem during lactating. I wonder if this was a sign of hormonal problems or more serious health/reproductive problem. The vulva becomes swollen and there is bleeding. Often, a boil or pustule is visible which becomes enlarged and bursts, reducing in size. However, this time, if there was a boil, it was discharging from the inside. The discharge was a mix of blood and clear liquid. I often use Hexa-mide cream (Hexachlorophene Sulfanilamide) which clears the wound, swelling and irritation.

June 17, Number 3’s vulva looked normal and no discharge visible.

June 24, nest building started at 5:30PM.

June 25, Number 3 was given her usual feed at 6AM and 4PM while she continued nest-building. She started farrowing at around 9PM. Number 3 gave birth to a small litter of 7 piglets.

June 30, Number 3 accidentally stepped on a piglet and killed it. The accident was at the trough where the ground gets wet, slippery and very hard. That area needs to be re-designed.

Observations: The small litter size is probably due to the condition of the boar. I decided to reduce the boar’s daily feed to reduce his weight. Unfortunately, this actually meant he wasn’t as strong and agile and thus kept falling off the sow during mating. When I started giving the boar the usual feed, he was much better. We didn’t need to cut piglets’ teeth. Perhaps because of the small number of piglets, although there was fighting at the teats, it wasn’t aggressive enough to upset the sow and disrupt suckling. Piglets were weaned at 35 days.

We also noticed that the fan seemed to affect the piglets. Since the fan was directed towards the center of the pen, the piglets stayed away from it and instead stayed in the creep space which was not reached by the force of the fan. So the fan seemed also a good way of guiding piglets away from certain areas, reducing the risk of laying over or crushing by the sow.

Sow Number 3 with her piglets.
Piglets sleeping, the runt in the middle.

New Prices

We started our backyard farm in 2010. Crops were not very good but livestock showed promise. By 2015, we had enough surplus to be able to sell ducks, goats and native chickens, and in 2016, we started selling piglets. We kept our prices low over the next 2 years as we were able to keep a small profit despite the increase in price of commodities, labour, fuel. Finally, this year 2019, we needed to raise our prices.

Fortunately, our buyers understand why (thank you!). They know how income levels had gone up together with the cost of living. They understand the much needed price increase because they know we provide them only with the best we got.

Here are our new prices.

FREE RANGE MUSCOVY DUCKS

Live weight 180 per kilo
Dressed 280 per kilo
Ducklings 75 pesos each

FREE RANGE NATIVE CHICKENS

Live weight 180 per kilo
Dressed 280 per kilo

PIGLETS

Fully weaned  45-day old piglets 2,600 to 2,800 each

We are thinking of selling off our goats. We don’t really have the pasture for them and common pasture lots in our village are getting smaller. We have a 5-year old billy goat up for sale at a negotiable price of 4,000. Visit us if you’re interested. He’ll be our dinner in April or May if there are no buyers. We also have a goat expected to kid for the first time in a week or so. We will keep them for a while and sell them later. If you’re interested, please visit us to take a look.

Turbatrix aceti (Vinegar Eels)

Some five years ago, I got involved in fermenting coconut water and overripe bananas to make vinegar. If you make your own vinegar, and prior to pasteurisation, you’d have these free-living (non-parasitic) nematodes swimming near the surface of the vinegar. I took a video under the microscope.

Popularly known as vinegar eels, Turbatrix aceti feed on the microbial culture of vinegar and other similarly fermented foods. They are non-parasitic and harmless. After several hours, the vinegar on the slide began to dry up and this happened to the Turbatrix aceti.

Vinegar eels are also harvested and fed to fish fry. If you are interested in using vinegar eels this way, there’s good information at Living Food Cultures.