Posted by: A Part of the Solution | May 14, 2012

Piglets Progress, Part 2

Ruby and Garnet’s piglets are growing up fast. We used a time honored method for estimating their weight using a piece of string. All you have to do is get a measurement of the piglet’s ‘heart girth’–around the body just behind their forelegs. Then measure the piglet’s  length, from the base of the ears to the tail. Square the heart girth number and multiply by the length. When you divide by 400, you’re plus or minus a couple of pounds on the actual weight of your piglet or pig. How cool is that?

Ruby’s piglets, born in the third week of March, are in excess of forty pounds each, already. Garnet’s treasured runt, Tiny, is north of twenty pounds now–and keeping up with the rest of his cohort herd very nicely. In fact, these piglets are only a couple of weeks from being ready to be weaned. We prefer not to wean them before they’re six weeks of age, as nursing passes so many health benefits to the piglets from their mothers.

The piglets are also eating more, and eating more competitively, practically on a day-to-day basis. Because they’ve had access to fresh produce from the very beginning of their interest in solid foods, they’re gung-ho about all the fruits and veggies we cut up and spread in the feed buckets. In addition, we mow grass for them to both eat and play in. Their freshly mowed greens are quite a delight to them every other day.

You may have seen the photo on the FB page from April 12, when all three of Ruby’s piglets fit into the one feed bucket. Here’s a photo of the piglets milling around, with the feed bucket on the right being the same size as the one from the famous photo.

Ruby and Garnet’s Piglets are growing so quickly

Just a month later, and it’s hard to imagine one of those piglets fitting into a feed bucket, let alone three of them. And little Darwin’s bottom hasn’t grown any less plump in the interim.

Personalities are developing as the piglets grow. Sika (Finnish for pig, and named by the farm manager’s girlfriend) is the only piglet of this farrowing to inherit her Daddy’s white socks, or in her case ‘sock’. She’s not a push-over, but in fact a fall-over for having her belly rubbed. Hyacinth is still the friendliest piglet in the barn. Darwin follows a close second. Wayne enjoys contact with people more than Floyd, Goody and Petula, who all hang back. Cutie Pie can take it or leave it. And Tiny is becoming less shy as he grows in stature, though he’s still pretty skittish.

Ruby and Garnet themselves have become a little bored and restless, what with being cooped up in the barn for the safety of their tiny ones. When I go by the barn on my way off the home acres with our faithful dog, Ruby and Garnet often come and stand by the wire to ‘watch’ us go by–looking wistful, to my empathetic eyes. They’ll be ready to head on out to their freshly prepared pasture in the forest whenever we drop the hanky, no question.


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