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Seeing Spots!

Farm life comes with the realization of stress and that Mother Nature does what she wants, when she wants. The story of the overdue gilt is a perfect example of how farm life will test your sanity and your patience. We have a very small show pig operation of purebred spots and we only had one female due to farrow this year. You would think this would eliminate some stress on a farm girl, but as usual, things don't turn out as one would hope. As the 114th day of gestation approached nothing was happening. No action at all! Our gilt was in the farrowing crate and ready to go but she didn't seem to have a care in the world about going into labor. As day 115 came and went, I quickly begin to start to worry and lose sleep! My husband and I were taking shifts checking on the gilt throughout the night and I would leave work to go check on her during my lunch hour. We decided to induce the gilt on day 116 at noon. After inducing the gilt, 36 hours later, no change and no sign of labor. So we decided to induce her again. As I informed everyone at work that I was going to check on the pig, they all wished me luck. My coworkers get to hear all the details of farm life from me on a regular basis and I enjoying sharing my farm stories with them. When I get to the farrowing barn on day 117 she had started to go into labor. At that moment, all kinds of scenarios came to my mind. Will the piglets be huge? Will I have to pull all the piglets? Will there be any piglets alive? Will the gilt live? After several hours of labor, the spot gilt had 4 live babies, unassisted. I am pretty sure Mother Nature laughed at that point. Although 4 piglets is not as many as I would have liked to have, I am just thankful that I have a healthy sow and some live piglets. Livestock and pigs definitely do what they want, no matter how hard a farm girl tries to control the situation.

Four newborn piglets and a new sow

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