Yesterday... all my troubles seemed so faaaaar away...
Yesterday, the adorable piglets still liked me.
They came over to check me out.
They posed for the camera!
They wandered about the pen without fear.
They scampered and grunted with glee.
Today? Not so much.
Oh look. Red stripes! Why, you ask?
Because today the vet and his assistant arrived. They clipped everyone's needle teeth and dosed them all with iron (piglets are born iron deficient. In nature, they'd get it from rooting around in the soil, but that ain't happening in the barn!)
And oh yeah, the two boys were ... NEUTERED!
On the bright side, I sexed the piglets correctly. Two boys, five girls.
That fat black guy on the end is one of the two boys (both black, but the one next to him is his runt sister!) Everybody is doing okay this evening and eating well, but it was quite traumatic this afternoon.
We had to shut Ophelia outside the pen while the vet worked, so that she couldn't kill him. ;) And the piglets were of course squealing like crazy, which made Ophelia very upset. She spent the whole time running circuits around the outside of the pen, grunting to her babies and looking frantic. I felt awful but it had to be done.
I have to say, she is a remarkable pig. Even with the vet and his assistant in there with her babies screaming their heads off (they hate being picked up, so the squealing started immediately and got worse when their little mouths were being wedged open) she didn't charge or try to bite any of us. Pigs can be quite dangerous if you're messing with their little ones, but Ophelia is a saint. It was obviously upsetting for her, but as soon as the job was done, we let her back in and she went straight to her babies without pausing to gore the vet. ;)
Tonight I went down to sit with them all. Ophelia came over and I fed her Cheerios one by one. She is incredibly delicate when she takes food from your hand, much better than any dog I've ever had! She put her head in my lap and I slowly fed her a handful of cereal. Then she lay down next to me and I gave her a good scratch and a behind-in-the-ears massage. She closed her eyes and blissed out. After about ten minutes of that, she rolled over and fed the babies.
They still love mama, even if they won't come anywhere near me!
I would love to clean Ophelia's face. She get this clear discharge from her eyes that accumulates on her skin (the vet said it's normal and not to worry.) Everytime I try to wipe it with a warm, damp washcloth, she become indignant and pulls away. She doesn't mind me touching her face but if I have a cloth, forget it! Maybe this summer I'll give her a bath in a kiddy pool and see what I can do.
I think we'll all sleep well tonight. We'll see if the piglets will ever come near me again! When the vet was gathering his equipment from the car, he said to his assistant, "Do you have the scalpel?" Gaaaaaaaah!