Laurels Westies, at
DreamCatcher Hill Puppies and Rescue
www.laurelswesties.com, my original website, went down. Please enjoy the new website.
Photo of one of our 4 young sow's, bad mom, and behind her is Fat Albert, our Boar. My Aunt Carole named him as soon as she seen him. They are a year and a half old now. The other photo is the 4 piglets in the tub, who are now on pasture and getting quite large!
The piglets were bottle raised. Bad Mom, (named after she had babies and wouldn't take care of them!) had them and didnt have anything to do with them. I have their story on the blog page. They were born 3-10-16. They had me so tired I can't remember anything from around that time! We saved all 4 of them. Fortunately the other 3 gilts raised their pigs all by themselves and only needed us people to keep the feed and water replenished.
Photos are the bottle babies in the tub, where they lived for awhile. We had a heat lamp in there too. The vet said they wont make it. They didnt get moms colostrum and baby pigs just don't live if they miss that they said. Well I fed them every 20 minutes, with at most 1 to 2 hour breaks at night for weeks! They did get deathly ill and I thought they wouldn't make it. The vet put them on some antibiotics and they slowly improved. Once they were past the almost dead stage and were getting very sturdy (and extra stinky!) we moved them to the heated garage, still under a heat lamp. Then when they were too big to fit in the stock tank we had them in they got moved to a stall in the barn. They were there a bit too long, it got muddy. Pigs are really pigs! We finally decided they would be best out on pasture and put them with the buck goat kids from this last winter where they are really happy grazing and rooting about, or just laying out in the grass, shown in one of the photos. :)
Since Bad Mom wasn't raising her babies she stayed with Fat Albert and was bred back. We figured we would give her one more chance to be a good mother. Well she had 9 babies 9-9, and finished morning of 9-10-16. Have long story on the blog. She was just as bad about wandering about and not staying with the babies at all! The whole story is on the blog page. In short we managed to get her into a stock trailer where she and the piglets had room but were also contained to stay closer to each other. It worked since I stayed in there almost the whole day to be sure the piglets started to nurse. After all that she is now caring for her babies.
She has been good but hogs are quite large so accidents can happen. Like watching the little guy walk between her and the wall, when less then 24 hours old! Pictures 9-11-16 day after I finally got her to lay down got the piglets to nurse.
9-24 Art came in with one of the babies. We don't know what happened but he's limping and not acting right. The vet tech has wanted to raise a piglet, so he will be given to her as soon as we can meet up. Since I had bottle fed all the babies when they were born before the mom would take them he adjusted to the bottle easily. Poor baby seem like his back hurts to me. We think mom accidentally mashed him or stepped on him.
We bought our first piglets in December 2014. We planned for them to be raised for meat. Instead we kept the 2 girls. Girls are called gilts before they have ever babies, sow's after having had babies. I decided why not raise babies ourself instead of buying "feeder" pigs each year? The 2 barrows (neutered males) we took to the butcher. It is the best pork I have ever had.
I could be a vegetarian but Art wont eat any vegetables at all. As second choice I prefer to raise our own food as much as possible. We have milk goats, free range chickens and now pork. The calves/cattle we couldn't keep fenced.... they kept going through everything.
We know what goes into our milk, eggs, and meat this way for us and the dogs. Plus we can give them a better life, even if its not very long its lots better then living their short life in a confinement operation. Art wouldn't eat any pork for a long time that we had raised, and would rather buy from the store. I don't get it. I imagine the sad confinement places where they live when I'm at the store. He remembers the critters we have here. I respect that for sure, but I much prefer saving a few from living in commercial operations.
Anyway, meanwhile I looked into breeds and thought the Large Blacks sounded terrific. They are an old heritage breed with only a few registered stock left. They graze more then "root" and are suppose to be very docile and even tempered, perfect for pastured family farm hogs. Plus suppose to be good mothers.
The Hampshires were scary to be around. The one barrow acted like he would bite you and they all were so pushy you really wouldn't want to fall down near them or even turn your back. Plus they tended to run startled at the least thing. The one gilt, Big Pig was the easiest going. The other Gilt would shock herself on the fence at least daily and walk up behind you with her mouth open and seemed way to aggressive, and really dumb. We call her "Crazy Pig".
We found a registered Large Black baby boar in Arkansas, and 2 registered baby Large Black girls locally. The local breeder has been really nice and educational. We "rented" the Large Black boar from him to breed the 2 hampshire gilts we had kept back. When he was here dropping off the boar and picking him up he agreed Crazy Pig was pretty aggressive and wouldn't be living at his house, she would be at the butchers. Since we didn't want Big Pig to be suddenly by herself we just put the boar with both the girls.
Big Pig was the first to farrow, then Bad Mom had her four. A few weeks later Crazy Pig had 9 babies and raised them all. The last was one of the large black gilts, who had and raised 7. She still doesn't have a name. From never having piglets to having 4 gilts farrowing and raising litters its been educational! We thought the piglets would sell as feeder pigs, which is what people buy to raise out for themselves. We haven't sold any for feeders. Now they are bigger and considered "suckling pig, and roaster pig" size. I am guessing relatives are getting pork for Christmas and we will see if the butcher shop also buys them. We will have way more pork then anyone can eat, well the dogs would probably be really happy!
All Bad Mom wanted to do was lay with Fat Albert in the mud wallow. This photo is Fat Albert in the wallow. Bad mom is in the trailer with her piglets. Soon as they are sturdy enough we will move dad and let mom and the babies have the pen where they can get in the wallow. I much prefer them nice and clean but they much prefer mud wallows!
Our very first baby piglets! She raised 10! Mom is "Big Pig", a Hampshire, and dad is a Large Black. We were running them into the house as they were born afraid they would be too cold, or mom would just eat them. It was really cold outside, and we didn't know when she was actually due and hadn't prepared ahead of time.
My son-in-law said "oh put them back with mom!" "She wont eat them, pigs are good moms." His uncle raised hogs so he had lots of experience from working on the farm.
She was making terrible noises but apparently she was calling to them.
Boy its hard to know what to do when you don't have a clue.
She is a really good mom and didn't eat them, even when they walked right across her mouth.
Mom pigs lay on their side and don't move while having the piglets.Its like they are in a trance. Strangest thing I have ever seen!
Heritage breed Large Black Hogs
Still working on this page...)