Friday, September 13, 2013

Opal's Piglets are Born!

Opal spent the day yesterday building a bower of mint weed to be a soft place for her piglets' birth.
Then as darkness creeped over us, she started pushing.

Her first son was a big boy, breech, and presenting his mother one back leg. I gently pushed his leg back in, grabbed the other leg and straightened them together, and out he plopped! He's calico in color. We dried him, placed him near his momma's belly, and he proceeded to find the best teat and spend from that moment till now, with very few breaks, latched on.

She had three more babies in quick succession, another boy and two girls.

After her fourth piglet, we saw a lot of bright red blood, so we thought the births were over. Not so. She had three more healthy, breech, piglets. Two more boys and one more girl.

Fortunately, Snowflake got it into her head that she's a professional livestock guardian dog, and she took up a post next to Opal's bed to watch over the vulnerable momma and her babies all night.
Three times, Snowflake sounded the alarm for the other dogs to chase a predator while she stayed near the little pig family.
Although we have plenty of coyotes, bobcats, and stray dogs who could gobble up the piglets, these were more likely possums or weasels who wanted a grab-n-go placenta.

This morning Opal wouldn't take time to get up and get herself food and water, so we brought it right to her.
She's an excellent mom, who contrary to what I've heard about pigs, is careful not to roll on or step on her children.
She's totally focused on her babies, but not any different toward us.
I think she's grateful for her dog-friend staying with her.

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