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Someone asked me today why I get so excited about the babies being born on our farm when we have experienced it so many times before...

I have to admit I was dumbfounded.

Me: Huh? What do you mean? Do you get excited when humans that you know give birth?

Adult: Well, sure, but those are people. You are freaking out about animals.

Me: Well, have a seat, let me explain... 🙂

New baby that we are calling Twister

Spring on the farm means new life, new beginnings, new challenges, and a new chapter. As I have said, it's not always sunshine and roses but it's why most farmers and ranchers do what they do! We love to see a new baby calf hit the ground and then hop up within minutes looking for it's momma for a drink. Why? Because it means that we chose the right bull for that heifer or cow, that we kept that heifer or cow healthy during pregnancy, and that we (with our planning and care) helped bring a new life into the world.

It ALWAYS stays exciting, with each nearing day of piglets being born, with each day on the calendar being checked off as a due date approaches, it is ALWAYS exciting. With it, we teach our children (and social media following) about the life cycle and where their food comes from. We teach our children responsibility, about reproduction and giving the animals the proper care that they need after giving birth.

On our farm spring isn't all about livestock giving birth, the greening of the alfalfa and it's growth mean that we cared for our product and it has come back another year to provide our cows with nutrition and income for our family. Spring means that corn and soybeans can go in the ground, which will, in turn, provide nutrition for our animals.

Farmers and ranchers care deeply about their livestock and crops and want only the best for them and the consumers that will benefit from the product that is raised.

These are just a few of the reasons why I will never tire of spring on the farm and never tire of telling people about it!

What do you love about spring where you live?

From the Gravel Road-

Jen

2

One of the most exciting things that happened on the gravel road over the holiday break was "Charolette the Wonder Pig" gave birth to twelve piglets.

It was really quite an incredible day. We knew that she was getting very close because when we checked her for milk she was producing and just by watching her actions she was growing more and more uncomfortable. She was building her nest by taking all of the shavings from the edge of her pen and piling them up in the center; this is a really cool process if you haven't witnessed it. This was her second litter of piglets and it was obvious this time that she knew what was going on (during her first labor her normal tempermant was gone and she was GRUMPY) this time she was uncomfortable, but not as angry with us.

I'll be honest, since I was on winter break from work, I spent most of the morning with Charolette since I new she was in labor. The first piglet arrived at 10:00 AM and quickly tried to find some lunch. The next piglet arrived at 10:45 AM and was also healthy as could be. Then NOTHING for hours! I was so worried about her. I "farm girled up" and put a plastic sleeve on and "sleeved" her. I found nothing, no little teeth trying to bite me, no piglet stuck in her pelvis, and no stillborn piglet waiting to be delivered. I couldn't believe it, why in the world would she only have two piglets? I watched her for quite some time after that and at 3:00 PM finally decided to go in and shower since I had spent all day in a pig pen.

After showering I remembered that I hadn't slid her water pan back into her pen (she kept spilling it while nesting). At 3:40 PM I ran back outside to water her and to my shock there was a huge piglet trying to nurse that hadn't been there 40 minutes ago and surely was not in the birth canal when I had reached in to check her. I was absolutely flabbergasted!

Later that evening we had a Christmas celebration to go to and when we left, Charolette was comfortable and had two live pigs at that time (she had laid on one). My husband left the celebration early and called me from home...

"Jen, guess how many live piglets we have now?" My response was hesitant as I had hoped she hadn't laid on anymore. In fact, I don't even think I responded before he shouted the number NINE! I was shocked! The girls and I rushed home to find all of the babies munching and filling their tummies with milk. We left Char resting comfortably at 10:00 PM and when my husband got up the next morning for chores, she had delivered three more piglets! First, I can't believe she labored for that long with no complications. Second, I can't believe they were all born alive. Third, it was probably one of the best winter breaks we have had for quite sometime. I am not sure the number of times I had to tell the girls to put their mud boots on to play in the pig pen (rather than wearing their good shoes), I lost track of the number of times I swept the kitchen because they drug wood shavings in on their clothes, and we are still succeeding in our goal of teaching our girls about life (and death) on the farm and the responsibilities that come with raising animals.

As of today, the piglets are a little over two weeks old. We have 8 survivors that are growing like crazy and a momma sow that is starting to get a little annoyed with all of her kids wanting her full attention (I totally think animal mommas and human mommas may go through the same emotions from time to time.)

Have you ever heard of a pig going through that long of a labor? Comment below with your favorite color from this litter, there are many to choose from!

From The Gravel Road-

Jen

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