So the fatties are 7 weeks old now.
And they are eating big pig food and drinking well from both the water spigot where Willow drinks and from the water bowls scattered around the pig yard.
But still they nurse.
Those big babies take every advantage to slurp a little milk from momma; when she stands to eat or drink or to stretch her legs.
Pig experts suggest that the pig mommas will not wean their babies. And that the babies must be weaned by the people handlers.
This can be very stressful for both momma and baby. Pigs tend to be group or family oriented. The little ones are always nearby each other and momma providing warmth and nutrition and comfort to each other. Willow calls to her babies every couple of hours to nurse and nap together. So weaning can mean weight loss in the piglets and a frantic mother.
But there’s no need for weaning to be stressful here.
We’ll take the weaning slowly and allow both momma and baby to ease into being separated from each other for longer and longer periods. We’ll herd small groups of like sized piglets together each day and allow them to eat in a separate area from the their litter mates. During this time we’ll give them lots of high protein foods like creamy Jersey milk and lots of hearty eggs mixed with their pig ration so the transition shouldn’t result in any weight loss. They can then play and explore their new area then be quietly walked back to the large group. Eventually the large piglets will be able to spend nights away from their original family group and will be ready for their new homes.
It’ll take more time but that’s OK.
We’re not in any hurry.
Today’s count: milk 3 gallons, eggs 44