Thursday, March 31, 2011

Providence's Perpetuation Provisions: New Piglet "Pebbles"

Recently, Wilma, our gilt started to look very pregnant; so I put the farrowing "runners" in the shed; and we looked forward in anticipation to the day.

Well, this past Monday evening, I went out to feed the pigs; and lo and behold, a little piglet was running around:


Wilma the Duroc Sow in Labor


We were excited the process had begun. However, minutes went by, then hours, and no other piglets. We started to look online to try to investigate the situation: some sites said they should be coming out every 15 minutes or so, some said up to and hour, some longer. After several hours (which included the several it looked like had passed before we even found the piglet, as the piglet was very dry, and its umbilical cord was already dry), we decided to try to check if we could find a piglet in the birth canal and pull it out. We found it about five to six inches in, but were unable to grab onto it in any way. We solicited help from the Bunkers, who have dealt with pulling animals before; and they worked for a couple of hours trying to pull the piglet out, but could not. We even tried using salad tongs. When we couldn't get it out, we thought we'd leave her for the night, and see how things were in the morning, as maybe she would pass it. We also pulled the born piglet out of the pen and took it with us, so it would be warm (as there were no other piglets and her mother was incapacitated and in labor) and not get squashed or that other harm might come to it.

The next morning, there was no change. I called the vet, and he suggested we either need to get the piglet out, or bring her in for a C-section, or euthanize her. He also suggested that by then, the unborn piglets were probably dead. We weren't going to bring her in for a C-section (he even suggested we not do that for economic reasons); and so we tried various other things, including pliers, to try to get the piglet out, all to no avail.

At this point, there wasn't much left. We spent several hours going back and forth, trying to decide if we let things be and see what happened, because maybe she'd pass it; or butcher her, losing the sow we had thought maybe about having for a couple of litters. After prayer and lots of indecision, we made a decision. This video could be a little rough if you're not used to this. Sadly, this part of the process didn't go as we had hoped -- it usually goes better than this:


Slaughtering Wilma the Duroc Sow


As I mention in the video above, the plan was to kill her and quickly get to the unborn piglets, in an attempt to get them out and breathing. Here was that process, which I believe no one around here as done before (at least with the people participating). If you're squeamish, this one is pretty intense:


C-Section of Wilma the Duroc Sow


And then it was to the butchering station:


Butchering Wilma the Duroc Sow


It was a rough couple of days. Sue was up about every hour the first night (and has been similarly since) tending to the piglet, and the whole ordeal was fairly stressful.

But, the Lord, in His graces and mercies, allowed a successful butchering, which appears to have yielded quite a bit of meat and fat; and He has graciously granted a new piglet -- His providentially perpetuating the species. The new little piglet didn't have to be the first one out -- she could have been behind the stuck one, and so we are very grateful.

And yes, I said "she" -- it's a female piglet; and because her sire's name was Fred, and her dam's name Wilma, we're calling her Pebbles. And here she is:


Wilma the Duroc Sow's Piglet Pebbles


I know some of these videos could be somewhat shocking if you haven't seen or been around these kinds of things before, but I wanted to include them so you all could see some of the experiences that are part of life here on the farm.

Another aspect about being here on this farm is that we are part of a community of like-minded brethren. I was able to put out a short-notice solicitation for help with the processing of Wilma the pig, and many folks showed up, representing every household that had someone available. That is a lot of the reason we are all here: Christians serving their (spiritual) family.

Finally, once again, we thank the God of creation for His graces and mercies, and allowing us the provision of this new piglet; and we pray that He might grant this little piglet to grow and be a productive part of the homestead and community, as He might will.

-- David

9 comments:

Shannon said...

Wow. I haven't witnessed an animal butchering since I was Elijah's age and I have never seen an animal birthing. I am squeamish, but I watched them and I thank you for posting the videos to give us a real look at the full picture of agrarianism.

Praise God for your piglet and the community to help. I am very ill prepared for something like this and have a lot (A LOT) to learn.

On a totally different note, Elijah has decided he wants to name our first pig, Lord willing, "fig the pig" and we look forward to having space to have animals. And seeing you all of course :).

~Brew~ said...

Isn't it amazing how humbling the and old ways(long gone for most) bring meaning to the beginning and ending of life in it's simpleist form. From the city to the country.
Or should i say from fairy tale land to truth and reality.

May God bless you both
D.J Brewster

Anonymous said...

Quite the processes! Everyone did a great job helping. Perhaps the "stuck piglet" died in the birth canal and looks bigger partially due to swelling up after death. Unfortunate it couldn't be reached to let all the others through; but Praise God one did get birthed and survive. Yes, the colostrum will be a help potentially toward it's survival.

Was just online, looking at c-section articles; and then sites about raising orphan piglets. You undoubtedly know alot of this, but just sharing in case any is helpful. Consistant heat of 90 degrees plus seems to be most important, and recommended in a small space like your box with either a heating pad under bedding or heat lamp secured to side of box, being the source. (The lamp allows getting out from under it as needed as with chickens...as you know) Is that powdered goats milk in the bag that I see? The websites I reveiwed encouraged trying to train the piglet to feed out of a bowl early on, by sticking nozzle in the milk; and said they usually catch on in a few days. It said that it can also eat the mother's broken up, partially chewed and spilled food scraps fairly early on. For iron, giving them some clean dirt/grass from a non-pig area to let them nozzle, eat, dig in, was suggested instead of a shot, as that can cause diarrhea easily. It stated the piglet, though anemic at birth, can get it's own iron from the dirt, sand, gravel, grass blade scraps and enjoy the wallowing at the same time. Perhaps the goat's milk has supplemental iron in it. The stat's. for survival on that site were about 50/50, with them having raised many orphan piglets as naturally as possible. Of course, all according to God's Will. Praise God for Wilma's meat as a provision for you! Bet you're busy canning/rendering!

Push on Pebbles! Will pray she survives.

Have a blessed week, Susan and David. Thanks for sharing all of this.

Beth

Ante Živković said...

Amazing post, and praise God for his provisions.

David and Susan Sifford said...

Thank you all for the comments and information. May God's name be praised forever!

-- David

Anonymous said...

Thank you both for letting us in to your life with these posts. I tried to show the videos to my nephews who are the same age as my girls. My sister freaked out and made me stop, saying that her boys wouldn't understand and would be disturbed. These same boys wear clothes that have human skulls printed on them, and run around pretending to shoot things. How sad to be both sheltered from what is real and at the same time steeped in the sterilized modern amerikan death culture. I pray that they will be among the elect.

I look at your bgsgam site all the time. Thank you for making it available.
- Todd

debbieo said...

This is off topic.....
I was sent this information about a new way to make a top bar hive from intructables and thought of you. If you end up making one like this be sure to tell us about it.
http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-your-own-Honey-Cow-Top-Bar-Bee-Hive/
blessings,
debbieo

David and Susan Sifford said...

Hi Todd,

Interesting dichotomy.

Thanks for saying hi.

-- David

David and Susan Sifford said...

Hi debbieo,

Thanks for passing along that bee hive link. BTW, in case you missed it, we did have a bee hive blog post at http://blog.siffordsojournal.com/2011/03/homemade-top-bar-bee-hive.html.

Thanks again,

-- David