Food & Swine

4 and holding


Great news.  I was hoping the follow-up post to my last one would be just like this.  We have four living orphans on our hands!  Three of the four are thriving and doing quite well.  The progress they have made is dramatic.  I haven’t photographed anything lately because I feared for so long that we would lose one and I’ll be the first to admit, I am weak for these little things.  When they were critical I couldn’t even eat.  (For those who know me, it takes a lot for that to happen.) The picture at the beginning of the article is from October when we took pigs to preschool. Maybe someday “Sunshine”, “Jackson”, “Wiggles” and “Hopper” will make a preschool appearance.  I hope so.

I knew I could make a post comfortably today because when I got home early this morning from workout class and went to check the pigs, they were up FIGHTING!  Just like any other pigs their age.  Boy, they are sure feisty little farts!  The two biggest pigs duke it out and ram each other around in the pen.  They snort around and really enjoy it.  The two smaller pigs nibble each other’s ears and lean and shove, nothing major but there is snorting and fun being had between the two of them as well.  That was such a welcome sight.  That means they are on the mend.

Rewind… As of January 5th mostly all of the pigs (minus the gilt, maybe) were in a critical state.  Slowly over the next couple of days the gilt and the smartest boar pig emerged, ate, scoured less and gained the weight they needed to.  They were still sleepy and not incredibly excited to eat, but if you lifted them up by a hind leg, dipped their nose in the feed and set them back down they would eat quite well. Another 48 hours passed and the third out of four pigs really came around and gained a little weight as well.  After giving them anti-scour medication and making the proper adjustments to their diets, we’re gaining.

Today we have three normal sized, normal looking pigs and one ‘fall-behind’ who has made major strides in putting on weight and gaining an appetite in the last 24 hours. It is apparent that the pigs who took to the bottle right away are the smartest and fittest of the bunch.  My husband keeps referencing Darwin and how legitimate all of his theories are. ie: ‘survival of the fittest’ etc.  Those very theories are put to work daily in this group of little pigs. I’ll give you an update on each pig like I did on one of my earlier posts.  I’ll re-post their initial update and then add the current information after that.

The gilt: (only female)  The smartest, most voracious eater, is very snuggly and loves to put her front feet up on your hands when she eats.  She doesn’t thrash around too bad when she eats which is nice.  She pees on you every time she eats.  Awesome.  We love her.  *Update 1/9:  The gilt “Sunshine” as Halle calls her, remains the smartest, healthiest pig we have.  She is always hitting the feed when she should and has never scoured.  She’s round and ‘normal’ sized.  She’s very sweet and her nose is very cute.  She looks like she smiles when she sleeps.  Very steady and has a great outlook.

The ‘smart’ boar pig: This is one of the three boar pigs that takes a bottle.  He drains it incredibly fast and can really eat a lot.  He’s big and scrappy.  My husband likes him.  *Update 1/9: “Jackson” is the second best off of the bunch.  He and “Sunshine” are buddies and he takes her direction when she gets up to eat.  It is so cute, they do care for each other and they fight quite a bit too.

The ‘hammer head’:  Definitely not the brightest pig in the bunch, he is a super-squealer.  He is wiggly too and may be the pig who tried to bite my ear off.  Possibly the one I dropped on the floor (10-12 inch padded fall.)  He wiggles around if you aren’t pushing the syringe fast enough.  STRESSFUL pig. *Update 1/9:  “Wiggles” turns out this is the ‘fall-behind’ who looked as if we may lose but now is really making great strides in eating and energy.  Today he has eaten more than any of his siblings, he’s catching up.

The ‘other one’:  This pig just flat out wants the syringe. Feed. ME. NOOOOW.  A little pisser as well, this one has ups like Jordan and can get some serious sky when he hears his “Mama” coming.  His little head bobs up and down out of the tub when he’s jumping.  Quite funny for now until those little suckers can jump out and we’re chasing them all over the garage! *Update 1/9: “Hopper” is the 3rd best looking of the four.  He’s really come around in the last 48 hours.  He plays nice with “Wiggles” and just nudges him nicely and nibbles on his ear. He’s not the brightest but is holding his own and is getting bigger, closely rivaling the size of Jackson and Sunshine.

Since so much of this scenario is touch-and-go I just went out (3:00 p.m. on 1/9) to feed, water and check on the wee ones.  I prepared four separate bowls of feed placed them on a cloth lined sheet tray and took them out.  I opened the door and could hear papers rustling (their newspaper bedding).  That meant they were PLAYING!  This tells me great things about their energy level.  I have been talking to them more too, telling them to eat and kissing at them to get them up.  (I needed to do something for those few days they weren’t up and about because they weren’t doing well.) The best feeling yet, they snorted back at my kisses.  Unreal. I liken that to when my children first said “Ma-Ma”. The pigs were practically crawling up my arms and very excited to eat.  (It has been 3 hours since their last feeding.)  I’m feeling great about their progress.  Cautiously optimistic, but great.

My goal for them in life is to be able to turn them out in a pen and watch them as I call it: “Get Farty!”  If you have ever showed hogs you will know exactly what I am talking about… walk them up the alley and they are quite calm and level headed.  Once you reach the opening to the show ring… SHABAMMMM!  I’m FREEEEEEE!  They gallop off, ears flopping, tail wagging, tootin’ and snorting.  I want these pigs to ‘get farty’.  (I’m sure I’ll take some heat for this term.  Sorry Mom, not classy at all.  I know.  Sorry.)  But that’s what I call it and you should know.  For heaven’s sakes, you are invested in these pigs’ futures because you care enough to read this blog.

Here’s a group of pigs we had last spring.. calm and cool yet, they’re thinking about it.  “Hey stranger lady…”


And this is the beginning…


THIS is ‘getting farty’!  (My apologies for the rough pictures, clearly there was not enough light!)


In other news, Cinnamon (duroc gilt) is coming along splendidly in her pregnancy.  She is nothing short of growing to be the size of a grizzly bear, has monstrous feet, a coarse coat and attacks her feed at every chance.  We’re very excited to see her babies on 2/14.  OINK is looking great too and has been enjoying her new pen-mate “Fatty” another York teaser-boar we have around.  He asserted his authority by eating out of her feed pan and she didn’t try to kill him (which is great, she can be a handful).  They have been snuggling in this cold weather.

Cinnamon this summer: (Soon I’ll be posting about this big red girl and you’ll squeal when you see how big she’s gotten!)

HalleCinnamon3  Cinnamon9-9-2013-2

Until next time!

Happy pigs… happy kids.




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  • Reply JoAnn Hansen January 10, 2014 at 1:50 am

    Love all of your entries, the kids are so lucky to have the opportunity to experience helping the babies get stronger. Will look forward to reading about their continued progress!

  • Reply r January 10, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    So very happy to hear the are making great progress. It always amazes me how fast attachment grows to these little ones. Happy happy happy!

  • Reply r January 14, 2014 at 12:00 am

    any new news?

    • Reply mikeandcristen January 14, 2014 at 1:52 am

      Hey R! They are doing great, completely weaned from all of the ‘extras’ and on Headstart 1.0 and water! They are growing like weeds! This product is amazing. They are gobbling it up. I can’t believe my eyes! They prefer it to all of the other stuff. The transition was easy. Thanks for checking in and all of your help!

  • Reply r January 16, 2014 at 3:57 am

    so glad to hear it! giggles and wiggles!

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