Quit Hogging The Covers!
December 7, 2013, 9:00 pm
Filed under: December 2013 | Tags: , , ,
Two of Nine

Two of Nine

December 7, 2013

   It makes me wonder where the saying , “quit hogging the covers”, comes from. In the photo, two piglets are cuddled down, but seven of their siblings are under the straw right next to them. Are these two hot? Or where they sleeping when the others stole the covers? 😮

   We currently have two litters of nine. The moms and babies are doing well. Today, I cleaned the pens and quite a bit of the nests. I just remove the wet and soiled stuff. I do not take it all. I then add chopped straw. The short straw is best for the moms with newborn babies, because the babies can become entangled in long straw or hay.

   The mothers usually chew the bedding into short pieces as they wait for the birth of their young. After the babies are born, they don’t have a lot of time it seems. I help them out with the short, chopped straw…. it’s better for both of us!

   If a small baby gets tangled up, he can get stuck out by himself where the lack of body heat will kill him on a cold night. Another problem can be when mom wants to lay down. She grunts to the wee ones and they know to get out-of-the-way. She lays down and slowly rolls onto her side to offer supper to the babies…. a tangled piglet becomes very flat as the life gets squeezed out of him…. it is much nicer to use short straw, at least when they are tiny.

   The mothers take the fresh, dry straw and line the nest, then they sort of fluff it along the edges. The babies become experts in burrowing down and covering up. It is amazing how the whole process works.

   I am thankful for my crop of speltz. It not only provides all the grain for my draft horses, but all the straw we need too! I do buy some of the chopped straw, right off the thrashing machine, from an Amish friend. I only need enough of that for farrowing time…all the rest is grown here.

   That straw is the anchor of our compost pile. The carbon it provides locks up the nitrogen in the animal manure. It is returned to the farm’s topsoil, ready for the plants to use. It’s funny that we call it “bedding” because the animals lay down in it…but the babies cover up with it…kind of like a big yellow quilt…and we all know how much warmth and love a quilt provides !

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