Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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©Katherine Dunn.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Eleanor delivers ten!

I knew when I left her last night she was ready. Eleanor is not one to lay down for belly rubs, never has been. But last night when I checked on her before calling it a night, she was laying down and didn't bother to get up. She seemed to appreciate a belly massage.

I checker her tweets and they had milk.

Well, that was a give away.

It was day 115 and she always farrows by day 116. And she had discharge. She got up and I was checking for heartbeats for fun, and she tossed her head into my leg, a clear sign she was ready for me to leave and give her the space she wanted.

I discussed the situation with her. Eleanor is stoic, calm and a very good mother. I knew she would do the job and do it well, and she did.

The weather was perfect for farrowing, unlike the night Cornelia lost all of her litter except Little due to hypothermia.

When I arrived this morning, I could not wait to open the door, and there they were, up and about, strong and healthy. There were ten of them, which is a very big litter.

"It's a basket of pigs," Martyn said as he went off to work.

There are four boys and six gilts. The more girls the better. I must say, the markings are just wonderful, lots of waddles [which really means nothing but they are fun]. I'm very happy for Eleanor that all is well, and this litter is really up and about and doing well and not even a day old.

Mother creatures are heroes. I was thinking this morning of all the animals in the wild that birth on their own, and stoically carry on to fend for their young, and keep food in their own bellies along the way. I learned way back in our first lambing seasons to give the mother space, be aware of the conditions and situation, but stay out of the way unless it is dire. I roll my eyes thinking of the first lambing, the ewes must have been talking behind my back,

"I wish she would just leave us alone, if she checks my udder one more time I will scream."

I took the afterbirth and fed it to the chickens. Our eggs will be nourished my Eleanor and the life she gave us today.