Agriculture, Sunday Snaps

Sunday Snaps: January 4, 2020

It’s 2020! March will mark four years since I started Farmer’s Grace, and I’m hoping to make this year the best one yet! If you don’t already, be sure to head over to Facebook and “like” Farmer’s Grace. You’ll get to keep up on the latest blog content as well as quick thoughts, current happenings from around the farm, and interesting finds from some other ag advocates that I love!

Things had been pretty quiet around here until the last few days. You might recall that winter is the start of farrowing season for us. That means our sows are giving birth. We mostly breed for summer show pigs, so William artificially inseminates our sows to ensure their due dates happen in January and February. A few sows were bred for early December, but they farrow at a different farm, so I’m just now getting a chance to snuggle brand new piglets!

And guess what? All the new piglets on our farm are SPOTS!! It’s like Christmas all over again if you ask me! Sounds like a good time to get back to some Sunday Snaps.

Let’s start with the sweetest little piglet snout.

Gahhh! I’m such a sucker for a cute little piglet. No matter how many piglets are born on this farm, I will never not be excited about it.

Of course, farrowing season gives me an opportunity to again discuss farrowing stalls and their importance on our farm. Those little piglets are happy to run around and nurse freely without their momma laying on top of them. You can read a little more about farrowing stalls here.

When piglets are born, we make sure to get them warm, dry, and full of milk. The very first milk a sow produces is called colostrum, and it has all the nutrients and good stuff her babies need to get off to a great, healthy start. As soon as we get the piglets dried off, we move them over to nurse and watch to make sure they latch on and get a good drink.

Do each of your family members have a certain seat they sit in at the dinner table? Guess what? So do piglets! Piglets have a tendency to pick a teat and stick with it each time they go back for a drink. How cool is that?

Piglets spend most of their time sleeping. They will wake up to nurse some more, then settle back under the heat lamp to continue snoozing.

Did you know our piglets can talk to us and tell us what they need? Ok, they don’t really talk. But their body language tells us a lot! For example, we can tell if they are too hot or too cold by how they lay under the heat lamp. If there’s a big empty space under the light, it’s probably too hot. If the piglets are piled high under the lamp, it’s probably too cold. We like to see a nice even layer of piglets. See how those piglets keep climbing on top of each other? That tells me they need just a little more heat to get comfortable. That’s an easy fix- we can just lower the lamp and they will warm right up!

It’s safe to say we’ve had a pretty good start to the new year! If I remember correctly, we don’t have any more litters due for a few weeks. These little guys will hang out in the farrowing stalls for 21 days, then we will get them moved out so we can clean up and prepare to move more sows in. It sounds like a lot of work, but I don’t mind. The farrowing room is nice and warm, and I can get all the piglet snuggles I want in the mean time.

I hope you all have a wonderful new year, and crush those goals! My goal is to be more consistent and intentional in my social media sharing. What would you like to see from Farmer’s Grace this year? Let me know in the comments!