Ann's Farm Journal

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Romance in the Pig Pen

Romance in the Pig Pen

Hello everyone, 

I am always saying how it is never too old to learn, and this is what I learnt this week....... 

Kate and Royal, our boar and sow above, had been in the same pig pen for a number of months during last year. Putting two and two together, we presumed that Kate would farrow (give birth) around the festive time/early new year. The gestation period for a sow is 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days. This helps to gauge the timing for birth.  We therefore moved Kate into the ‘maternity ward’ (a separate pen) in mid December to await the big event.

I have to say that neither Kate or Royal took kindly to the separation, however, needs must! Kate had put on weight and did look very well and, more importantly, looked "in pig". Lucy and I did think we noticed some contractions during the few days of last week. However, nothing happened!

We called the vet and Leanne, our vet, who has had pigs and is very knowledgeable, came to visit. On went the special glasses and Leanne scanned Kate and gave her a good check-up. No piglets to be seen but otherwise a very healthy girl. We are, obviously glad and relieved that Kate is very well but not so happy that she is not pregnant. Leanne informed us, and I learnt, that if a pig has less than three or four foetus or if something is very wrong with the pregnancy, the sow ‘absorbs’ the whole foetal sack very early in the pregnancy. This means that the pregnancy just disappears. Mother Nature takes over. 

We decided to bring Royal back to Kate, as opposed to taking Kate back to the pig pens in the Well Field. Oh! My! Goodness! Talk about happy! Kate literally jumped for joy when Royal was arriving and he was still in the trailer! She was bouncing around like a "light on the feet lamb", not a huge pig! They were sniffing and kissing each other. Such a lovely sight to see. We will now leave them during this honeymoon period and hope that love and Mother Nature does the trick.

Kate and Royal are now in a moveable pen within the Orchard Field. They will have fun but they will also be earning their keep. The area we have placed the pen will be in the new growing area. Their natural action is to "root" the land and eat lots of the weed and grass roots. We will be moving them along the field as they clear each section until all the space we are going to fill with fresh compost has been cleared. There is no such thing as a free meal here! They have the next few weeks to complete both jobs (nudge nudge, wink wink) by which time eighty tons of compost will arrive to fill the new growing area and fingers crossed that we have a successful pregnancy. 

I’m off to learn more things…. 

Have a good week,


P.S. thank you for all the returned boxes as it is great to reuse.