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Archive for November, 2009

We moved the newest litter of piglets, by the Chester sow, up to the main barn giving us a total of 26 piglets and 2 sows in that barn. We still have our three other sows (Hampshire x, Yorkshire gilt and Spot gilt) plus the boar (Hampshire) out in the “field” which is a more open place and they can create all the mud they desire.

Litter of piglets by the Chester sow, still in the farrowing house when I took this photo.

There are two piglets in the newest litter that we are watching closely. One was clearly weaker than the rest at birth and the second may have been caught under the sow when she went to lay down. We are making sure they are eating the supplemental milk and they also received additional vitamins to help. Hopefully they will turn out like the feisty runt by our York sow. That little girl refuses to let her bigger brothers and sisters push her around at feeding time.

Our Yorkshire sow feeding her month old piglets. They grow very fast!

I cannot post a pig update without mentioning Olivia. She is doing very well (still stubborn as ever!) and will be coming in to heat soon. Our plan is to monitor her and time it just right so that her first litter of piglets will be born in late March or early April. Here is Olivia and our York gilt snacking on a “chocolate” covered pumpkin.

Can you tell it has rained (a lot!)? The field pigs also have a run-in shed full of dry straw for them to make their nests at night or whenever they don’t want to be in the mud. But more often than not I still find Olivia bathing happily in a mud puddle.

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Name: Sally

Breed: Brown Swiss

Purpose on the Farm: milk production for baby animals as well as educating the public about the dairy industry

Age: 2, going on 3 years

Current Daily Milk Production: 45 lbs (almost four gallons of milk per day!)

Interests: Food. Sally is extremely food motivated. When she came to us she knew nothing about being hand walked by people. She would go from a stand still to bolting in hardly any time. Food helped her settle in and helped us train this 1200 pound cow.

Sally also has an affinity for pigs. She is very curious about them and will peak over stalls in the barn to look at the pigs.

Dislikes: Any disruption in routine. The other day I brought her in for milking and when we were walking back out a truck had parked in the farmyard. At that point she just planted her feet and refused to move. She called out for Dandy and it wasn’t until Dandy “moo’ed” back that Sally started walking again.

Babies: Sally has had two babies. The first at her previous home last year. Her second calf, Snickers, was born at our farm on October 20, 2009.

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A few weeks ago, before the cold and rain settled in, I was able to snap a couple photos of some fun creatures in our milkweed. We let it grow around the butterfly bush so that the monarch larvae (caterpillars) have something to eat. My favorite is the third photo. The praying mantis turned and posed for the photo before crawling along.

The orange spots are aphids feeding on the milkweed, just like the monarch larvae, to become poisonous to their predators.

 

 

And today I gently rescued this Monarch butterfly. It had been pushed to the ground by the rain and was helpless in the open. With barn cats and birds abound I thought I’d help it have a fighting chance. I took it to a tree and tried to place it where the water would not reach but it had different plans and crawled further up the branch to dry out.

 

I wonder… what are the odds that this Monarch butterfly was one of the caterpillars I found on the milkweed?

 

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