Thursday, June 12, 2014

Emergency ! saving a baby pig from the new black tamworth litter

Always something exciting going on! Yesterday was no exception. at evening feeding time, I couldn't find the light colored tamworth mom, so I went searching. Found her in the very back of the pasture,  with a brand new set of piglets! Problem was, the situation was not ideal.

She had dug a nest in  a fresh mud puddle to give birth, but the mud was  just at the wrong consistency. It was very sticky clay. Two of the babies had wandered far enough to get themselves stuck in clay quicksand.  They were submerged up to their necks and struggling to breathe.  I dug one out and cleaned the mud off of it (mom wasn't too happy with all the squealing right near her, which made things interesting) and that piglet seemed ok. took a bit for it to find the ability to walk again, but eventually it was nursing with the clan.  The other piglet was not so lucky.

The second piglet, when i got it out of the mud, was slashed open from the backbone to the belly right in front of the right rear leg. It was surprising that she could walk! But she seemed oddly unaffected, except that her skin would open wide with each step to expose  the inner workings.  MY best guess is that while submerged tight in the mud up to her neck, a larger pig came along and unknowingly stepped on her, hoofs sinking in and slicing her side open.

She seemed strong and plenty mobile, so we let her nurse for two or three cycles to make sure she was strong.. then  went to work.  I gathered her up in my shirt and ran to the kabota (more squealing) where brenda waited to whisk us to the "hospital", meaning the stainless steel processing table in the bird processing tent. It felt a little like a scene from MASH tv show!

Some careful flushing of the wound revealed surprising little damage below the skin.  We flushed it out well with warm water, then iodine, then hydrogen peroxide, then sprayed a little vetricine.  Once all that dried and the wound was clean and reasonably sterile, out comes the super glue. A farmer's best friend! I have glued many a turkey together after overactive breeding with high success.  So while brenda held the baby pig warmly, i glued away a little bit at a time until the wound was closed.  Another layer of iodine, and spray of vetricyn and she was patched up as well as we could.  Back out to mom!

In the mean time, we had moved a shelter nearby where mom was, in hopes she would choose the shelter over the mud home to prevent further injury.  Mom did go in, but never laid down. I suspect the problem is that early on the tamworths were pushed away from the shelters by the large blacks, so mom was scared to claim it as her own. Instead she decided to lay down just outside the mud hole to nurse. The situation seemed safe enough, so we left her alone with babies.

Fortunately she didn't seem to mind the medicinal smell of the hurt piglet. she accepted it right back in and let it nurse. So for the evening, that is all we could do.  The family is together, 6 piglets and mom.

First attempts at flushing the wound with warm water to remove the mud. Fortunately this was fresh clean mud.

Here you can see the wound, it extends from her backbone to belly.

She was a great patient. Held still and quite through all of the procedure.

Wound mostly clean, flushing with hydrogen peroxide now. 

The emergency team!

Starting to "stitch" it back with superglue. 

All stitched up and ready to go. 

Heading back to mom in a warm blankie.

From a distance we watch to make sure the siblings accept her new  smells. No troubles seen. She can even walk normally!

And finally back nursing with mom!

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