Posted by: A Part of the Solution | May 19, 2012

Whither Piglets?

Today is the day we say good-bye to Darwin and his cousins Petula, Sika and Goody. Ruby’s and Garnet’s piglets are well-grown. Darwin and his sisters, Hyacinth and Cutie Pie, are two months old now. Garnet’s farrowing was over six weeks ago, on April 1st. The cohort still nurses several times a day; but their behaviors would be familiar to anyone who’s witnessed attachment-parenting toddlers. The piglets enjoy the comfort of the ritual rather than requiring it for sustenance. Which is good news for the departing piglets–as today’s their weaning day too.

We bought a batch of small piglets, only four or five weeks old, a ways back. And it was then we saw the behavioral signature of early weaning. Those piglets favorite play pastime involved knocking one another over and then rooting at the belly of the fallen one. They did this with each other for weeks, and even occasionally into months. I have seen none of that behavior in our current batch of piglets. Ruby’s and Garnet’s piglets are more than old enough for this big transition.

Saying goodbye to Lil Darwin

These piglets are by no means the first weaned piglets to be sold away from the farm. We sent three from Fern’s and Willow’s farrowing to another neighboring farm in late winter. But this time around, one of my hand-fed babies is getting into a kennel and going off to be the boar of his own sow herd. We put a lot of time into keeping this troublemaker alive for the first few weeks after his birth. Once we’d selected him to become a boar, we spent even more time socializing him to interactions with people–not just us. High-touch livestock management has its drawbacks. Saying good-bye to beloved creatures is one of them for sure.

And yes, I tried not to become too intimate with Goody, Petula and Sika. I knew they would leave with Darwin and I didn’t want my heart-strings tugged any harder than necessary come the day. But Sika learned early the joys of having her belly rubbed. She mimicked her older cousin Hyacinth in her willingness to flop over wherever and whenever a bacon rub seemed possible. And her absolute, eye-closed, mouth-curled bliss made her an inevitable target of our affections. So I will miss Sika and Darwin both.

Happily, they’re not going too far down the road. I hope we’ll be able to stay in occasional contact with Darwin’s new farm. He would make a good boar for the off-spring of Juniper, Strawberry and Agamemnon. And I would love to see my special baby again, and will make every opportunity to do so as I can.

In the interim, I’ll have Hyacinth to keep me cheerful. Wayne and Floyd are coming along in the high-touch department. And they’ve lately developed their daddy’s, Bocephus of course, forward flopping ears. How cute are they? Oh almost as cute as my Darwin. Or their sister Sika, with the only white sock in her farrowing–also passed on from Bocephus.

We’re expecting new piglets in a couple of weeks. A whole other round of frolicks and delight!

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Responses

  1. this is wonderful. I feel the same love for animals! you have some great looking friends I see thanks for sharing their stories!

    • You’re welcome. I’ll miss them, but I know they’re going to where they’ll be well cared for and happy for long days.


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