Spring farrowing has commenced on Wacholz Farm. Thursday, March 15th we had on our 1st litter of six from a Hereford/Duroc gilt (first time mother). We sired her with a Berkshire/Red wattle Boar. These piglets will be very vigorous and have lots of vitality. This is a good mother as she is very careful with her young and nudges them off to the side before she lies down.
I recently converted my pig barn with farrowing stalls, so that I could farrow earlier in the spring. As you can see each stall has enough space for sows/gilts to move around and share with their little ones. Fresh straw is given each day to keep pigs dry. Farrowing at this time of year is more laborious but helps get a good start on the year early. These piglets will be with their moms for 7-8 weeks and then weaned. Once weaned, the little ones will go to pasture where they will grow up and then be harvested this fall for delicious pork.
The big black and white face pig you see in this picture is a Berkshire sow. She has been around the farm a couple years and this will be her 4th litter. We have 11 mothers ready to farrow from now through mid-April and most sows will have 7-10 piglets. Our main goal is for them to reach 8. We are more forgiving on 1st litter from our 1st time gilts. If they display good mothering instincts but have smaller groups, such as 5, we will give them a 2nd litter to see if the numbers goes up.
In pig production the old fashioned way there is nothing better than good mothers that don´t lay on their piglets.