Well, that was an exciting week. Not one but TWO litters of piglets arrived happy and healthy to the farm to two first-time Mamas.
Honestly, no matter how many times I watch a 500 pound Mama pig furiously build a nest the size of a twin bed, it never gets old.
Yes, pigs build nests. Kinda amazing isn't it? (And makes the commercial methods of farrowing (the word for birthing pigs) in tight cages seem even more insane.)
Studies have shown that even in commercial production settings, simply having room to move around as well as access to a small amount of nest building materials like straw or burlap significantly reduces maternal stress and increases health outcomes for the babies. Pretty neat hey?
Here on the farm we have a lovely maternity ward where the gals can choose the birthing room that feels right to them and move about freely throughout the barn during the process.
The rooms are designed to protect wee babes from big mamas without confining the mums. They birthing rooms also have a small, low door to get in, mimicking a den. Mama will instinctively sleep with her head at the narrow door to protect the babes from predators. This helps them sleep soundly knowing their littles are safe inside.
Their sisters get to stay with them throughout. It's a lovely family affair as all the new aunties come in to check on the wee ones, chatting away the whole while. If we have litters arrive close together, the Mamas will co-parent and co-nurse both litters which is just about the sweetest thing ever, if you ask me.
No cages, no confinement - just lots of respect for the natural processes at play.
So on the whole, a good week.
I am also happy to report that next week's Fresh Sheet will contain BEEF!
Now, before you get tooooo excited just a heads up there won't be a ton. This cow was raised primarily for our family - but whatever I can't fit in my freezer will be up for grabs!
We'll have an assortment of cuts, all Grass Finished, of course. Keep your eyes peeled next Tuesday because I expect it will sell out in a flash.
P.S. More pork on the way soon, including a big batch of sausages!