A fortnight ago Sally, our resident Saddleback Sow, gave birth to fourteen healthy piglets. Mummy and piglets are all thriving.
Reaching this happy event comes from a series of planning over the summer months. Sally’s journey began back in the spring when Farmer Nick arranged for her to meet this year’s boyfriend, a Gloucester Old Spot Bore with the very Cornish name of Pasty. Loading Sally into a trailer is never an easy operation but on this occasion Farmer Nick managed admirably under the watchful eye of our holiday guests.
Thankfully pasty is only a short drive away at the beautiful farm on Bodmin Moor. Nick carefully reversed the trailer into the yard and we made a Corral for Sally to walk into pasty’s stable. She was a little shy and playing hard to get, yet Pasty seamed more than happy to welcome Sally into his home.
I watched the two gets to know each other while Farmer Nick loaded the empty trailer with straw to return to Coombe mill.
Pigs have a three week monthly cycle so we left Sally for six weeks to be certain we had caught at least one fertile period. Back at Coombe mill it then became a waiting game over the summer to see if Sally is tummy began to swell, sure enough by July the signs were there that we would have piglets by late summer. As August progressed so did her tummy and I was convinced she would have a good sized litter.
This is Sally is third season with piglets and she is becoming a bit of an expert which is just as well as our own family holiday ties in with her due date. I always secretly hope it will be just before or after but as last year it was while we were away. Thankfully I had Farmer Amber on standby to watch over Sally and capture some lovely photos for me. The size of the piglets are so small relative to Sally that she really needs any intervention, it is a wonderful process to watch and see how instantly the piglets stand up and snuffle around to find a teat for their first drink. Pigs have fourteen teats and so Sally was better equipped for her piglets than I was for my triplets!
There is only one thing more important to a Pig than her piglets and that is her food. It is during the morning feed run while Sally enjoys her breakfast that we are able to go in and hold a piglet; this is always a real treat for the guests staying with us.
However when you do hold one it soon becomes apparent where the expression “squealing like a pig” comes from, this is nature’s way of ensuring they are soon returned to mum!
We are wishing Sally and her piglets a very happy autumn here on the farm. If you are looking for a last minute getaway we still have a little holiday availability this year and would to welcome you to Coombe Mill to meet our lovely new arrivals and enjoy a squealy cuddle!
Alternatively why not enter my competition to win a #CoombeMillXmas and bag yourself and your family a farm Christmas to remember.
“Tales from the farmers wife” shares the funny and interesting happenings on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. A behind the scenes look on balancing family, farming, the holiday business and cooking for all.