I don’t really like waiting but as a farmer there are some things you have to wait for. Like seeds to sprout or crops to mature before harvesting.
More recently I waited for Kali, our sow, to have her piglets.
Last year at this time she was also due for babies but she lost the entire litter. So this year we had a touch of dread and uncertainty as we waited.
In the fall Kali spent about a month at another farm with Dolce, a boar. Pig gestation is often said to be 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days. Other sources list it at 119 days. Based on these numbers and the time spent with the Dolce, Kali was due to have piglets anywhere from February 7 to March 13.
Pigs often don’t show signs of pregnancy until they are almost ready to give birth, so if you aren’t expecting new born pigs they can really surprise you. By the end of January we were sure she was carrying a litter but the delivery date was still in question.
By February 7, we started to check her for signs of going into labor. She seemed to be in good spirits and was always happy to see us — often because we would bring her a treat or scratch her back in that very hard to reach spot.
It became harder and harder to wait. But the weather was warm and Kali was in the shelter of a barn. Piglets should do just fine in this environment. Finally we noticed her milk was coming in and Allan turned on the heat lamp in the creep area.
A creep is a place where piglets are able to go to warm up and avoid being accidentally squished by a mom that is 500 times bigger then they are.
Then the outside temperature dropped and on the night of March 12, Kali was starting to act more agitated. She broke some wood off of the creep and was busy rearranging her bedding. Al decided to go cut some willow for her because she seemed to want to chew on something.
When he placed the sticks in the pen, she selected one, dragged it across the pen and forgot about it. She couldn’t seem to settle in for the night.
By morning, there were 3 piglets with the promise of more to come. By lunch there were 5 and by early afternoon there were 7. While we did lose one that got too chilled; the remaining 6 have been doing well.
Our waiting for piglets is over, but it looks like we may have to wait for spring as well.