Sunday, August 29, 2010

Pigs enjoying garden weeds

What do you do when your low on pig food and have hungry pigs? We decided to give them salad for dinner. We pulled a collection of weeds and corn stalks from the garden, tossed them into the pig pen. The pigs loved it... gobbling almost all of the greens as quickly as we could throw them in.

Escaped pigs returned to the pen

The pigs managed to escape today. We noticed the little ones exploring the back yard too late to prevent several torn patches in the grass. No real damage, more of a nuisance really.

After herding them back to the pen I discovered just how they escaped. Apparently one of hte adult pigs had pulled up on the hog panel that we use for the gate, and jammed it against the tpost so that several inches of opening was left under the panel. It was truly wedged tight! The only way to loosen it was to remove the chains and open the gate panel completely.

While I worked on fixing the gate panel, Brenda managed to kepe the adult pigs from running to the yard by using an old 4H pig stick. It was a cool sight to see her managing the large pig while several months pregnant.

Sunday morning surprise

In my closet this morning I hear tiny muffled whimpers. Searching around ... Under a pile of pillows... I find newly arrived baby kittens! 8 of them happily nursing with mommy.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Midnight visitor

So.... Ducks and chickens are unsettled at midnight... Inspection shows a skunk in the chicken coop... And I'm here with a dog overcome with instinct....

So... He's sleeping outside for a few weeks.. I have to shower before returning to bed... And all windows stay closed.

Tomorrow night... I take the shotgun.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Work continues on the webcam

I have been working on the first Little Sprouts webcam for the last couple of weeks. Who knew it would be so difficult!

After working through bandwidth limitations, firmware upgrades, WiFi extenders, placement, etc (including pigs pulling the power cord out of the outlet!) it is finally almost usable.  I have it trained on the front of the pig pen right now due to limitations on housing, power, signal, etc.

Feel free to check it out and provide some feedback.

If you hear pigs but don't see them, it because they are sleeping inside the shelter right under the webcam itself.

the best times to see them active is early mornings and late afternoon or evening. they tend to sleep all night and all day during the heat, only active in the cool morning or cool evenings.

Here is the link:

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Showing off

This guy seems really proud of himself.

Turkeys growing up!

They sure got big!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Time to socialize!

At one week we opened the 'nursery pen' so that all the pigs could socialize. It's a scary but necessary part of our farm principles.

April certailny enjoyed her mommy break... Taking time to use the mudbath and grab a quick snack of scraps.

Everyone seems calm enough for now. Even the dad Romeo was gentle around the littlest piglets. There was a small scuffle between penny and april where april was blocking penny from the shelter where the littlest piglets are.

Hopefully all will go well. We will keep checking on them throughout the day.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Work escalated on turkey house, before we are overrun!

The turkeys have reached an age where they are difficult to contain. For the last couple of days they are roaming all over the yard (attracted by the yummy green grass!). This is where we need to get creative, becasue I realyl do NOT want this batch of turkeys lounging around the house and porches.  They can leave an awful mess behind as we leanred in previous flocks. 

So, we are escalating efforts to finish the more permenant turkey hoop house, triple sized, to go into the pasture.  This is another home grown design built to be light, moveable, yet allow for room to fly while protecting and offering shade.  It should be large enough to contain the entire flock at least for the next month or two. It has chains to be pulled easily behind the tractor as required.

We are recording the build of this house with pictures and will post when its done, hopefully soon!

One Piglet didnt make it

Very sad news. Last night we checekd on the baby piglets to find one didnt make it. There were no marks on it to signify what happened, so it remains a mystery. The other piglets are doing fine as of this morning.

It is possible that the cool oregon nights were a little too much for this one, if it moved too far from the warmth of its mother. We have not installed a heat light in this shelter yet, since the days are in the 90's still. The nights do get into the 50's, which might be a bit too cool.  I would like to understand how the babies are kept warm in the wild, and work to duplicate that as much as possible. Calls for more research!

There is no way of knowing if the heat or cool is the cause of death. unfortunately this is where more experience in knowing the signs would be helpful.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Baby pigs nursing while mom sleeps

Here is a funny little video of the baby pigs fighting over a spot to eat while the mom sleeps soundly.

Webcam coming!

We have decided to go live on the net. Little sprouts will soon host a live 24x7 webcam where you can watch the animals live.

The first will be the new baby piglets. Stay tuned!

Monday, August 2, 2010

First outing!

April takes all of her 10 kids out for a late afternoon play in the mud. They all seem healthy... Even if small. And April is proving to be a great mom!

New waterer for the pig pen

With the new piglets arriving early, we had to scramble around to provide a community watering spot outside of the "winter pen". With most farm supply stores closed this late on a Sunday we had to improvise.

What we decided to so was to get a small metal watering trough, sink it in the dirt so that the piglets could reach inside it and line the bottom with spare bricks so that if they fall in they wouldn't drown. Then I strapped a hose to a branch and to the fence to give stability and set position. This was connected to the water supply on a timer so that I can adjust how long and when the water flows. The regular fresh water should replace what is drunk as well as keep the trough clean.

You can see the final setup in the pics below. The piglets are able to reach and drink, and hopefully the cranky Romeo won't be able to push it around being buried. It may take a few days to get the timer right and everything set permanently, but its working for now!

All 10 piglets nursing today!

I chekced this morning to find 10 little piglets quietly nursing off mom! We are very happy that they all have made it this far. Yesterday 4 seemed very weak and they are all VERY small, it seemed doubtful that they would all survive. Nevertheless we left the mom alone to take care of them, and prayed as a family for their health, and today they are ok.

Our philosophy is to leave everything to nature that we can, with as little intervention as possible. In this case it seemed to work. It is amazing tha thte mom could get those four piglets up and nursing when 2 of them could hardly walk, but somehow she managed.

The one "intervention" I attempted yesterday was an attempt to place the weakest of the litlte piglets on moms belly to get it nursing but in the process I made the one cardinal sin of a pig farmer, NEVER STEP OVER A CRANKY PIG.  Sure enough she jumped up, throwing me against the wall of the shelter, scratching my leg up and pull my hurt arm backward. That was 10 minutes of intenst pain that resulted in the mom leaving the pen anyway. The only good that came out of it was that we were able to wash the mud off her belly while she was up. This did allow hte piglets easier access to their precious food.

The bottom line here is, once again, in most cases nature has a better way of dealing with things than our attempts to improve on it. Its simply amazing to watch all the miracle of birth and observe the success of these animals when provided their natural habitat and left mostly alone.

Heres a couple shots of the piglets in their morning meal.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Another litter arrives!

We have our second litter of pigs today. April must have gone into labor early this morning.

For now there are 10 babies, but 4 seem very weak. She has not started nursing yet and if she doesn't soon some won't make it. Unfortunately she is much too testy to work with yet. Attenpting to get her on her side nursing a couple time resulted in some scratches on me and the mom sitting on one weak baby. We have decided to let her settle alone for half an hour and check again.

We did install the gate back on the winter pen where they are to keep the other pigs out. This means we need anothrr waterer for the main pen.

When we get back from the store to install willl be time to see if she has figured this out and how many made it alive.

Lets pray that all 10 make it.