Tuesday August 29:
At 6 AM Normal feeding time. No. Three was hungry as usual.
When we gave her dried banana leaves she ate them and showed no sign of nesting behaviour.
However, her expected farrowing date was Aug. 27 -and all the physical signs of late pregnancy were clearly visible.
Around 9 AM Fatima went shopping:
Monday had been a national holiday -and we had also expected the farrowing to happen earlier.
However we were starting to run out of weekly supplies.
By 10 AM Penny noticed that No.Three had put some dried banana leaf in her trough -so Penny gave her some more leaves -and No.Three started moving them to a corner.
As a result, we give her all the leaves we had in storage for her.
Around 1 PM No.Three still seemed hungry -so I fed her.
Fatima returned around 2 PM with the shopping -and asked Penny to get some more banana leaves.
When given, No.Three piles then piles them up in the same corner of her pen as she used last time for farrowin.
At 4 PM we feed her as normal -and she eats everything. We have reduced her ration of commercial feeds slightly to avoid getting her too fat -but we do feed extra grass and weeds from the garden to provide extra vitamins and and fibre .
By 5 PM she is nesting and resting
At 6 PM she is sleeping
At 7.45 PM Fatima looks out of a window and sees a dead piglet in the pen.
No.Three gets up and changes position -and Fatima goes down to the pen to get a closer look.
8.10 leg movement but no piglet
8.15 The first mummified piglet
8.23 The second
8.24 The third
8.37 The fourth
8.44 The fifth
9.12 The sixth
At 11 PM Fatima returns to the house to eat and drink'
At 11.30 PM we count 6 dead mummified piglets (plus one normal stillborn).
No.Three is resting and then eating.
She is also looking for her piglets.
Wednesday August 30:
At 6 AM No.Three is hungry as usual.
After eating she lay down carefully, exposing her teats and started calling her piglets: A good mother.
We removed and buried the dead piglet. It seems she (or something else) ate the mummified bodies in the night,
In the Afternoon, No.Three was more lethargic.
Fatima was worried that were still piglets inside and that she would get an infection.
She did have a slight fever.
We washed and massaged her teats which seemed to liven her up a bit.
Then Fatima called a technician who gave her 2.5ml of Oxytocin to remove any debris left inside.
She remained lethargic.
However, by feeding time (at 4 PM) she was quite hungry and thirsty..
But obviously still fairly exhausted
Thursday August 31:
At 6 AM feeding No.Three was still eating but also lethargic after feeding.
A slight discharge. Probably had a slight fever.
Around lunchtime the senior technician from the same company (who was off duty on Wednesday) came and gave 15ml of Pen-strep anti-biotic.
This really knocked her out and for about 6 hours she was just lying there.
By the 4 PM feeding No.Three was still lying down and didn't get up.
She also felt very warm.
However, she did eat and drink a small amount of food and water when we brought it to her.
We washed her teats with cold water and then warm water -and put some water on her neck with a damp cloth.
By chance, Fatima found another dead piglet (the eighth).
It was buried under the banana leaves but we don't know when it was delivered.
Possibly it was born before the first one which we had noticed at 7.45 PM on Tuesday.
It was starting to smell quite badly and we took it away for burial.
Around 6 PM Fatima heard No.Three making some sounds.
I went down and gave her some water to drink while lying down.
She seemed a bit cooler than at 4 PM.
Then she fell asleep.
Around 8 PM she woke up again and made calling sounds for her piglets.
I went down and gave her some water in a bowl, after which she struggled to her feet and went to the trough.
Fatima gave her some baby food with some more water -she seemed quite hungry.
Friday September 01:
At 6 AM she seemed back to normal -apart from perhaps a small fever and still lethargic.
We won't be able to breed her for at least two cycles while she recovers -but that's not a problem.
Saturday September 02:
Still a slight fever -but less lethargic.
Eating and drinking well at 6 AM.
Given extra food and water at around 12 PM -as well as cold water applied to back of her neck.
4 PM all seemed normal. Perhaps still a little warm.... put a bit of water on her neck again
Sunday September 03:
No.Three now seems back to normal.
Just before No.Three's farrowing Pinkie and Brownie were at it again....
So we are hoping that we don't get the same thing happening around the end of December....
Real expertise seems rather thin out here -and all the scientific stuff is really not very useful in a backyard context.
On Tuesday No.Three farrowed two stillborn and 6 mummified fetuses.
I could be wrong but my suspicion is Porcine Parvovirus (PPV). The large number of mummified fetuses also account for the prolonged gestation period of 117 days instead of 115 days.
The mummified fetuses are of varying lengths of no more than, or equal to, 17cm indicating that PPV is the infectious agent. Fetuses infected after 70 days gestation are able to protect themselves from the virus because immunocompetence of swine fetuses start at 55-70 days.
We am keeping an eye on No.Three at the moment, hoping that she has expelled all the fetuses and the afterbirth, and that no severe infection will set in. She looks quite well, she is eating and drinking and walks about and rests peacefully. But she is very tired, and infection is likely, Also her teats will become painful in the absence of suckling.
It is sad seeing how No.Three grieved the death of her piglets - she was looking at them and made gentle calling sounds. She would lie down and expose her teats and grunt to call her piglets to suckle. She snuggled her snout close to the dead piglet while she slept.
Our cat Ming-Ming, currently with kittens of her own, visited her in the
Although we are no strangers to depressing livestock loses, I am hoping that Number 3 will recover. We will breed her again when she is ready. The good news is that pigs exposed to PPV often remain immune for the rest of their lives.
So where did the PPV come from?
Our first incidence of (possible) PPV was with sow No.One, her second parity with 11 live piglets, 1 stillborn and 1 mummified fetus. This was in December 30, 2016, just 5 months before No.Three was serviced by boar Pinky.
My suspicion is that PPV was transmitted to sow No.One via artificial insemination. Her first parity - via boar Bootleg - of 11 live piglets and 1 stillborn showed no signs of PPV infection. Boar Pinky was from this first litter.
However, since boar Pinky stayed in close proximity to his mother he could've been infected by PPV and may even be an immunotolerant carrier. Boar Pinky may have infected sow No.Three during service.
As a gilt, Brownie stayed in close proximity to sow No.Three and boar Pinky. I am hoping that this has exposed Brownie to PPV and she has developed lifelong immunity. Her first parity of 11 live piglets and 1 stillborn in June 24, 2017 showed no obvious signs of PPV infection.
Although we can never be certain, I am hoping that Brownie's second litter, due December 21, 2017, will be protected from the disastrous effects of PPV infection.
PIGLETS -June 2016
Even More Piglets