Our sow delivered right on time, and we were able to help her through what was a very difficult delivery.
I learned a few very important lessons this time. The first being that I need to slow down and read exactly what I write in my calendar. For instance, “Pigs due this week,” is significantly different than “Pig due today” . I would have saved myself several nights of getting up three or more times a night to bundle up and walk to the barn to check on her. And I would not have moved her into the farrowing room so soon. . . .
The second lesson we learned was to have more patience during the delivery. We could tell that this sow was having a hard time when she started. And after watching her struggle to push for what we felt was a significant amount of time, I went in to see if there were any problems. Sure enough, the first piglet felt very large and seemed to be having a hard time making it through her pelvis. There was no way to help pull the piglet at that point and we had to wait. And waiting can be very, very hard when you know that what they are going through is very difficult.
I will admit that helping our livestock through labor is usually difficult for me more so than my husband. Having had four children naturally without any pain medication and being one of those people who at the time needed to know all the biology of the process, I am acutely aware of what the mamas are going through. My husband on the other hand is a paramedic/firefighter and handles it much better. His experiences have given him a much different perspective.
The first piglet finally made it through the pelvis, only to somehow be pushed through the skin of her rectum, we had to push the baby back in and guide it out the right way. The piglet did tear her skin, and there was quite a bit of additional blood but after a few more babies were born that additional bleeding subsided. Three days later she seems to be doing ok, but this will be her last litter. There is too great a risk of complications for her and the resulting scar tissue from this event will most likely make it hard for her to be bred again.
The kids were there to help with most of the delivery, especially A. who was there for piglets 3-8, helping dry them off and guide them to a teat. Also A. was the principle photographer of many of these pictures.
For some reason this little one wanted to be nestled right up next to his mama’s jaw. They are three days old today and seem to be doing well. Last night we notched their ears and gave them iron shots. The kids are excited to take their first born, bred, and raised hogs to the fair this year!