Monday, April 28, 2014

Oh dear...

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!


  1. How traumatic for them and you. I have always said I would never make it as a farmer. Just wondering if they put the two boys out or gave them anything before the snip. Poor babies!

    1. I think they have a local anaesthetic!

    2. What does the vet do to the boys, exactly? An orchiectomy? And *they* must be so small, like lentils. I was just wondering because I have zero farm experience!

      Ophelia looks so HUGE next to her piglets. You're the best piggie grandparents! Especially given the short notice she gave you!

  2. Poor piggies - Im sure they will forgive you!

  3. These little guys are growing in a hurry.

  4. Well, it sounds like Ophelia has forgiven you; maybe she'll pass the message along.

  5. Poor babies (all of you!).The piggies are growing so quickly,there is such a change from the last photo shoot!
    Jane x

  6. Did they avoid you before the vet experience, or after?

  7. Own! They are adorable!

  8. What are needle teeth??
    Those piglets are so cute and soft and adorable.

  9. What a good mommy--but then, she did pause to get her Cherrio treats before she fed her babies...

  10. What a traumatic day! Will they be eating all of your chickens as revenge when they are older?

  11. Hopefully, they will forget it all soon and you can be one big happy family again!

  12. I wonder if rubbing the warm wet cloth on Ophelia's body (where she could see it) would acclimate her to it? I sure hope the little ones will forget about that mean vet and his assistant!

  13. A traumatic day for all of you. An unpleasant necessity. It sounds like Ophelia understood all that ;-)

    Maybe you should just leave Ophelia to clean her own face when she is ready? It seems not to be distressing her and the vet says it is normal.

  14. Don't worry. They'll forget about. And just be grateful you didn't have to use your teeth:

  15. Anonymous10:04 pm

    This reminds me of a joke my dad used to say: " 'They're off!' said the monkey, as he backed into the lawnmower." I guess you had to be there... :)

  16. Anonymous9:20 am

    Vet days can be tough on everyone. Good to get these things looked after and move on. What a beautiful family.

  17. Oh, piglet attitude. There's nothing worse. I hope you're soon forgiven. It's amazing how quickly Ophelia learned to trust you!

  18. Next time this will seem so normal and not traumatic for you at all. It is the not knowing the routine and reasons and expectations that is off-setting. Next time you will help pull those teeth. You may never actually get to the stage of castration, but it is a very lucrative hobby.


Thank you for all your comments, which I love to read!