Maternity Suite is cleaned up -and
No.Three moves in
Friday March 09:
Feeding then Nesting
During the night, No. Three was a bit restless. In the previous evening we had given her some banana leaves to eat -but she had not eaten them all. By daybreak, it looked as if she had already started nest building with the few scraps left.
By the morning 6.15 feeding she was waiting at the trough ready for breakfast.
However, at around 7.15 -when we gave her some banana leaves we had saved for her, she started nest building in earnest.
By 9.30 am she was resting on a pile of leaves.
At 9.50 am Fatima gave her some kangkong -which she also ate.
After our lunch, at around 12.15 Fatima looked from our balcony and thought she saw two black and white piglets. However, the nest was built in a corner of the pen which made it very difficult to see what was happening.
At about 1.15 pm, it looked as if there were a few more piglets, including a brown and white one -but it was still difficult to see clearly. We waited patiently on the balcony for any further developments.
By 2.15 we had heard definite sounds of squabbling piglets, plus the gentle grunts of a mother calling her brood to come and drink. It was a fairly quiet, lazy and sunny afternoon -and one could hear an occasional answering grunt from both father Pinkie and Auntie Brownie in neighbouring pens.
In the meantime both Fatima and I tried to take photos (and videos) from the balcony but there was little to be seen. Just the occasional flash of movement between the planks of the pig pen's wooden fence.
At the afternoon feeding session, around 3.30 pm, No.Three got up and went to the trough as soon as she saw Fatima. While she was feeding, we counted 9 assorted piglets, and were able to take a few photographs from close up.
Now, for the next few days we must remain vigilant regarding accidental crushing of young piglets, and keep an eye on the sow with regards to fever or problems with milk production and suckling.
Around 12:45-1:00 am Started making grunting sounds, must've been
asking for nesting material.
6:10 am Feeding time, small amount (400 grams) given, dry banana leaves
placed in the pen.
7:00 am More dry banana leaves placed in the pen as nesting behaviour
continues until 10:00am
12 noon Saw a couple of piglets, farrowing must've started at least 30
minutes earlier while we were having lunch
12:30 pm Appears to be 2 black and white piglets and 1 brown piglet all suckling
1:41pm First audible sign of piglets fighting at the teats
2:0 pm A vigorous black and white piglet has started exploring the pen
near the creep space then quickly returns to the mother
2:30 pm A light brown piglet travels even further at the opposite side of the pen
3:30 pm Number 3 got up to eat the afterbirth, drink water and eat
about 400 grams of feed
10 pm Number 3 was given 500 grams feed and water. Nighttime temps 24-25
degrees C so turned on the lamp for the piglets.
Saturday March 10:
6:10 am Number 3 up early for feeding. gave iron drops to piglets.
12:30 pm Gave food and drink for Number 3, temps at 31 degrees C, so
poured some water on her neck.
Sunday March 11:
Monday March 12:
Piglets are Learning to be more Cautious
Tuesday March 13:
Piglets more Active this Morning
Wednesday March 14:
Sow and Piglets Still Keep a Wary Distance
Thursday March 15:
The piglets Play Outside while Mother has Breakfast -but Come Home when Called
Play Outside Again....
Friday March 16:
One Week Old Today -and Quite Active
Relaxing After a Busy Day
Saturday March 17:
Piglets Both Active and Passive
One Lazy Bones?
Sick, Under- or Over-Fed, or just Tired and Lazy?
Sunday March 18:
Three Active and Five Sleepy Piglets
Monday March 19:
Nearly all the Piglets seem Quite Lazy This Morning
Tuesday March 20:
Many Piglets Seem to be Enjoying the New Heat Lamp
..and Then a quick Nap Before Lunch
Wednesday March 21:
Still a Few Hard-Core Sleepyheads
Thursday March 22:
Most Piglets are Active This Morning -Maybe the
slightly colder temperature?
Friday March 23:
Two Weeks Old Today
This is No.Three's third farrowing and all seems fairly normal. Her first farrowing gave us four (Large White) piglets with no problems at all -but her second farrowing resulted in all eight piglets being born dead (and mummified) due to an infection by Porcine Parvo Virus. So we are very happy that she has clearly acquired a natural immunity from PPV as is normally expected.
Although still fairly vigorous, these piglets did not seem to be initially quite as active as Brownie's last litter. We suspect that this might be because Brownie seemed to be suckling more often than No.Three (maybe every 15 mins as opposed to every hour). Although the total amount of milk given may have been equal, it is possible that larger, less frequent, feeding might make the piglets initially more sluggish -although perhaps even stronger by the time they are weaned. However, this is mere speculation. Indeed, as they grow older, the initial difference seems to disappear.
"Blackie" was the first (and by the time of her death) only piglet to have attracted our attention enough to be given a name. The reason she came to our attention was because she seemed somewhat sluggish -and was given extra iron. We are beginning to suspect that perhaps piglets are not crushed entirely randomly -but that perhaps they have inherent weaknesses that make them particularly vulnerable. In some cases, one cannot rule out the possibility of a deliberate "culling" by the mother.
Later, we noticed "Panda" -who seems to be manifesting more obvious signs of developmental retardation. His ears remain "stuck" to the side of his head, long after all the other piglets ears have become more floppy. He also has a hunch-back posture and has mobility problems. At first, he seemed vary passive (which is why he came to our attention). However, after being encouraged to play in the garden with the other piglets he seemed to become more active than earlier -although not so active as his siblings. Only time can tell how his story will finally end.
Other piglets have also shown (temporary) signs of sluggishness -but seem to recover fairly quickly.
Free range playing in the garden for a few hours a day does seem to have a profound psychological affect on piglet health.
Fighting (over teats) seems to be considerably dependent of the lying position of the sow. No.Three seems to be becoming aware of this and is improving her presentation.
----------Some of our concerns may have been triggered by nutrition. Special feeds for lactating sow, containing higher levels of protein (amino acids) and energy blisters, did not arrive until March 17. Within 24 hours of arrival, there seemed to be an improvement in both the frequency and duration of suckling. The piglets also seemed more comfortable. Earlier, we had wondered if previous conditions (i.e. a complete litter stillborn) had somehow damaged a number of teats. It now looks likely that this was not a serious problem. However we continue to monitor this.
Piglets Three Weeks Old Today
Panda seems to be Improving
"Panda" definitely seems to be improving -although he is not (yet?) completely normal. His ears are now down, his posture has improved and his general mobility is much better -with less signs of sluggishness. Playing with siblings is now much more common -even running and jumping are not unknown. Being allowed to play in the garden with the others seems to have given great psychological and physiological benefit.