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

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©Katherine Dunn.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Earnest and Eleanor are proud parents

Last night I remember thinking,

I better leave Eleanor in the stall while I go to town tomorrow, in case she piglets on me.

I was busy doing my routine feedings this morning, and usually Eleanor is really vocal. She is very talkative, to the point she drowns out even the chatty goats in the morning. I heard her, but then she would go silent. I wondered if she was starting to farrow. I have a routine at feedings so continued to focus on that so that The Head Troll wouldn't reprimand me-and she does, with her one horn–reminding me it is her breakfast time. I took Eleanor her feed, already forgetting my suspicion, and there they were in a lovely polk-a-dot pig pile.

Seven little Earnests and Eleanors lined up in a row. All are doing well, even the tiny male runt. Her after birth was neatly piled for me and she was very happy to have me clean her up a bit. I was so tickled to see all the polk-a-dots and ginger color. Mostly, I'm just proud and happy for her, she did it on her own, which is the norm, but still, she did it well without me and is a very good mother. She is calm, attentive and not flighty. I spent a of of time with her and massaging her belly as her piglets suckled. I sense already this gang is much more personable that the last AGH/Kine cross piglets.

And she waited for the heat wave to be over-thank you, Eleanor! Today is our first cooler day, overcast, perfect day to be born.

I wasn't quite sure of the actual breeding date. It's not how I do it with my sheep as they go in with the rams on a schedule and pretty much lamb like clock work. But unlike our breeding with June and Doris, I let Eleanor and Earnest be together, and let Nature plan the due date. Once I knew she was pregnant I began supplementing her a bit and she has come out of farrowing looking really good, much better than Pearl did. Last week I noticed her vulva was enlarging, and her teats, so the time was coming. And I could feel the babies move. So while I knew it could be any day, it could have been weeks-still I was putting her in at night in case. My biggest fear was that Marcella would attentively lick the after birth, and possibly kill one without really meaning to, and then eat it. It happens and you can't hold it against a guard do to do that, which is why most shepherds keep the new borns separate for awhile.

In a week, I'll be moving Eleanor and her babies down to the former piglet area. I kind of hate to not have her up with Earnest. But he has Marcella, and me. Earnest has one favorite thing now-naps. It appears we have 3 boys and four girls. I hope for continued health.


lishofmann said...

Oh, such fun! Who knew ... polka dot piglets?! Pass on the congrats to the happy family. So glad the heat wave has broken for you ... of course, that means the heat has moved HERE! But we can keep cool. xo

'stina said...

Mazel tov!

Unknown said...

More baby pig photos please

Sherri B. said...

Ah, those polka dots! They're precious. <3

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, how adorable. Those two cute pigs made a lovely family. Glad it went so well. xox

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Thank you for reading! The farm and my art/writing keep me hopping, so might not respond immediately. Thank you for understanding. ~Katherine & Apifera ~