I love the smell of a good spring rain. We are on target to get a fair amount of rain in the next couple of weeks. It is welcomed and needed.
The farm relies on rain to refresh, clean, and feed the soil. The rain carries needed nutrients into the soil from the droppings of the pasture animals and from the added chicken litter that comes from the coop. It also washes away minerals or waste that have may built up over the winter.
I don’t look forward to doing chores in the rain, especially in the pig pens. Pigs love to dig and make holes that fill up with a good rain. With 12 pens to feed I don’t take the time to look at every step I take, and inevitably end up with a boot full of water. It is also great when a sow knocks your feet out from under you and you end up on your butt in one of those holes.
Even if you can escape the holes and the pushy sows, pigs love mud and love to share it with you. They rub against you, they wipe their nose on you, and they love to run between your legs to get the first shot at the feed bowl. So, no matter how careful you are, when it rains you get muddy.
We purchased a small horse trailer this week. We needed a trailer to move cows, horses, and pigs. the only problem is that most trailers work great for cows and horses, but lousy for pigs. With a solid swinging back door the pigs would just run back out as soon as we tried to close the door.
Solution- We had a stock rack setup for our car trailer that we were using to move pigs. the back of the stock rack had a smaller hinged door. We took the back of the stock rack and tied it into the trailer to give is a double door. We also took the front section of the stock rack and made a partition to section off the trailer into two pens.
This retro-fit worked great to take our Ossabaw Island pigs to get health papers. We now have to resize the panels to fit the horse trailer width since the car trailer was wider. I am also going to make an attachment so we can install and remove with little effort.
I would rather find a trailer on the cheap and retro-fit it to meet our needs, than to spend a ton of money on a trailer that might meet most of our needs. I always say function over fashion. Just because it looks good, doesn’t mean it is going to work.
We were feeding our Ossabaw Island Pigs last week, and I noticed one sow, that I thought was just fat, appeared to have dropped and was getting close to being in milk. That in itself is not out of the ordinary, but this sow was not due for another month at least.
I calculated the breeding date back, and there was now way that she was with a boar at that time. That was really confusing. I was beginning to think that a boar had jumped the fence and jumped back out, which was also impossible due to where she was penned.
We moved her into the farrowing pen just to be safe. 3 days later she had 7 of the smallest Ossabaw Island Babies I have ever seen. Premies!! 7 healthy, but tiny babies. They have found the heat lamp and are doing well. We were worried that they would be too small to make it. But they are Ossabaw Island Pigs, a very very hearty breed. They are proving that their reputation for heartiness is not blown up for better marketing.
Even though our records showed that she should not be farrowing, she did! It was a good thing we visually inspect every one of our animals twice a day. If we had not, we would not have caught this pending litter. Since we make our living on the ones that make it, it is important for us to be diligent in doing our job even when its unexpected.