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Farewell to the pigs

We raised 151 and 152 from 8 week old piglets.

They came with their 3 brothers and after sending the boys off to the butcher that first fall we had a nice, relatively snow free first winter with them. We bred them using AI and had nice first litters from both of them. We sold some feeder pigs and grew out the rest of the piglets for pork.

That is where things started going wrong in the pig world. We had such a nice first winter with the girls that we decided to leave them in the woods (1/2 mile from the house, all up hill) for the second winter. We bred them again and were expecting two nice litters in the spring ( they did really good the first time so the second time should be a cake walk, right).

Winter 2016/2017 happened and we found out the hard way that neither snow tires on the truck, neither a snowmobile could make it up the hill in 3 feet of snow. So, walking up the hill, thigh deep in snow it was. We took turns so at least every person only had to make the trek every second day. Luckily we have a little stream at the top of the hill so we only had to carry up food and not water too.

Eventually we thawed out and then the wettest spring in 50 years happened and during an overnight 1" deluge number one went into labor and buried all her piglets in the straw in an effort to keep them dry and ended up smothering them. Number two went into labor a few days later and in stead of being the good mommy she was the previous time, she crushed all her piglets except for one.

It was our fault. We decided to keep them up in the woods instead of bringing them down closer to the house. We should have offered them huts to have their piglets in, we just thought they did so well the first time building their own nests with straw that they could do it again. We messed up but just did not want to take the chance of having to do this past winter and spring all over again.

We tried finding them another breeding home but who can blame buyers for not being interested in buying sows for breeding if they did not successfully raise their last litters. So, our only option left was to encourage them to pursue a career in sausage. The one little piglet found a home with one of our neighbors, so little miss piggy has other career options open for her.

So, number one and number two, you were good girls. We enjoyed teaching you to sit to be hand fed apples and eggs. Who will we feed our spent grain to when we make a batch of beer? Thanks for all the piglets, it was sad to see you go.

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