Wednesday, February 3, 2010
A cruel lesson from Mother Nature
It was a gray morning laid with fresh snow that gave a peaceful feel to the farm. I went to feed the sow and in the dark I made out some shapes on the ground that looked like sweet potatoes (don't judge my comparison). I immediately realized that those shapes were piglets. But a lot of them were not moving. I ran to tell the other interns and livestock hands about the piglets. We inspected the litter and 6 piglets were moving around, 7 piglets were dead, and one piglets breathing was shallow. One of the guys picked him up and handed him to me to hold. He was so tiny and looked like he was barely alive. The mother had rolled over her piglets and killed them. Unfortunately, this happens more often then one would think. We took the dead piglets and placed them in a bucket.
It may sound heartless, but we threw the dead piglets into the woods to feed the wildlife (coyotes and what not). The whole circle of life thing. The logic was if we gave them food every now and then, they would leave the live animals alone.
We are gearing up for baby season on the farm. The farrowing sow is just the beginning. We spent the afternoon building lamb and kidding pens in the barn. I have a whole new appreciation for zip ties. We essentially built pens using zip ties, clips and metal fencing.
I was anxious to check on the pigs before I left, and the little guys were all mobile and walking around. If there is one lesson those little guys will need to learn quickly is to get out of big mamas way.