Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Ten Little Piglets

Tuesday 13th March 2012
No sign of the glorious weather we were promised.
Cloud cover all day meant we did not enjoy the sunshine which blessed much of the country.
A Long Night
Last night was a long night. The next time I returned to the stable there were two, though I wasn't sure either was the first born.

Piglets cannot keep themselves warm and the stable was chilly tonight, so Sue was dispatched on a mission to fetch a heat lamp from a friendly farmer. While she was gone, I witnessed what I think is my first ever live birth. It was a very joyful experience, to watch a tiny bundle of life emerge into the world, take its first breath, struggle to its feet and then, so quickly, to toddle round to mum's udders and begin tussling for position with the others. 
By the time Sue returned,
there were five.

Then six.

Then eight??
At about half past midnight, Daisy gave birth to the last piglet. She had TEN healthy piglets, the same number as last time.

I rummaged around in the straw, just in case, and found two more piglets. However, both were cold and weak. One was absolutely tiny. For the next hour I held them up to their mothers teats, fending off the boisterous barging of their healthier brothers and sisters (I haven't looked how many we have of each yet - the more girls the better). But eventually it was clear they were not going to be able to suckle, and that the trauma of birth had been too much for them. I tucked them back under the straw to slip away peacefully.
I later found that one of them had been that first born. Still, ten healthy piglets and a healthy mum was a good result. And this time we have a proper runt - even cuter than the rest.

More pictures to come!!

I slept downstairs that night, setting the alarm for every couple of hours just to check things were still OK, until the sunrise alarm.

Quite a crowd of Starlings had gathered in the Ash trees early in the morning, all chattering and gossiping furiously. No Fieldfares mixed in with them now though, all slipped away unnoticed, departed for Scandinavia.

And then, as I worked outside, another special visitor announced itself in the roadside hedge with a thin zi-zi-zi. Goldcrest! Amazingly only the second record for the farm, following two together in the autumn. This bird is probably a migrant on its way back somewhere, but it would be nice if it chose to stay.

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