Tuesday, May 30, 2017


It's been a beautiful and rainy morning on this farm! I woke up to see that a litter of piglets was born to the black sow, and all the babies and the mom are doing well. This morning she let me come right into the pen and deliver her breakfast of pig chow and goat's milk and I snapped this photo of two of the littles while mom ate. The delivery happened in the night and seems to have gone off without a hitch. I made sure to scratch the boar on the head and congratulate him, "You're a dad, buddy! Good job." And he seemed more concerned about his Seamless delivery than he did about the news.

This is a first for Cold Antler Farm. I have been raising pigs here for years but never had them born on my own land. It's a proud moment but also a little daunting, since that beginner's panic is laid out. My reading and preparation (and advice from pig-breeding neighbors) has been helpful. Some reading says to expect up to 25% loss of piglets in open pen environments. My sow isn't in a confined pen not allowing her to roll over or move freely. I spent an hour or so with her watching her move and for a new mother, she seemed hyper aware of where every piglet was. She lay slowly, grunted softly, and let me watch them nurse. When I saw all the piglets were suckling I left her alone with them.

Soon after the piglets were checked on there was the rest of morning chores to see to, hay to pick up at another farm, a few packages of soap to mail to readers in Oregon and Georgia, and the regular work here at home. I mailed out a house payment, too. It should be postmarked with enough time to keep the wolves pacing outside the yard and not inside it. This is all good news. This scrappy little mountain farm has new life, a payment sent, packages shipped across the continent of my words and work, and much excitement for coming projects of new books and publishing adventures.

Sometimes it is all a little overwhelming, but if you turn up the music and dance in the barn a little it's hard not to get back to work with more joy in your heart than fear. That's the race we are all running. Can we be more excited about tomorrow than afraid of it? If the answer to that is yes you're on my team.


Blogger Sandi said...

Congrats,Jenna. Your mamma pig did what comes naturally with all the loving care you give your animals! Where did "Spot" come from? It's too bad babies have to grow up.
From Sandi K.

May 30, 2017 at 1:15 PM  
Blogger Luann said...

So grateful you are feeling some joy today. Keep dancing in the barn, you are an inspiration.

May 30, 2017 at 1:41 PM  
Blogger Cindie said...

Oh my gosh, I wish I didn't live across the country - I'd love to come see those little piglets. When we demonstrate spinning at the county fair each summer the first thing we all do is go down to the pig barn to see the piglets, there always seems to be at least one litter, sometimes they're born during the fair.

May 30, 2017 at 1:45 PM  
Blogger ~Bettie said...

Congratulations on the little piglets! So adorable!

May 30, 2017 at 2:16 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

That is amazing!! How many did she have? They're so adorable when they're little.

May 30, 2017 at 4:21 PM  
Blogger Yarrow said...

Those piglets are adorable, well done to the piggy parents and I hope they all thrive.
I totally agree that it's better to face the future with optimism than fear, although at the moment I'm feeling both in varying degrees with a heap of excitement for a bit of spice :D

May 31, 2017 at 5:08 AM  
Blogger admin said...

Jenna, I must have missed this {entirely possible because life gets very-very busy November-April}. I had no clue you had a sow and company! Very cool. I'm expecting piglets any day now and am in the first time pig breeding boat too. Interested in how you're doing your pigs and how it works. Where do you have your boar...is he hanging in the same pen or separate? Most people around me farrow in a small pens. I'm hoping to pasture farrow/raise. The only reason my gal is taking up half the barn right now is because spring has been late here and we've had some ice cold sleety rains I didn't want piglets coming into the world in {and I haven't had time to build a pasture shelter...this week!}. Good luck!

May 31, 2017 at 10:09 AM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Lara, so the boar was with the sows until a recently. Luck of the farm is he escaped while I was expanding their pen into the woods and I trapped him in another pen in the barn. The sows are in a large outdoor pen with their own areas/shelters/nests and ever since the babies arrived they are distant from each other but good with the new arrivals! I am learning as I go. I hope to sell them for farm income and get larger pigs in for fall harvest.

May 31, 2017 at 10:46 AM  
Blogger admin said...

Very good...farm luck is the best when it happens! Pig $ does sound enticing. Similar plans here--holding on to one or two of my sows daughters and have an unrelated boar. Here's to hoping there aren't any huge pig pen breakouts and everybody can be happy campers all summer long in pig paradise.

May 31, 2017 at 12:21 PM  
Blogger EZ said...

Oh my god their EARS

June 1, 2017 at 11:15 PM  
Blogger barnswallowridge said...

Oh my heavens...please talk piggie to me :) We have raised several batches and hope to breed eventually. My question to fellow pig folk is this... I've come to understand the notion of "pastured pork" is a misnomer. Pigs destroy pasture unless ringed. So do you ring them and let them forage or let them root and therefore live on dirt. If you leave them unringed how do you keep them from escaping? Is ringing considered cruel these days? My advisor (aka the hubby) raised pigs back in the '80's before confinement became the norm. He believes in ringing...I'm not sure. Thoughts???

June 2, 2017 at 1:32 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Barnswallow, you are dead on that pigs destroy and turn up any pasture they are set on. My pigs are outside and kept in paddocks with electric fencing, 3 low wires. It takes maybe 48 hours for green moss, grass, and lush plants to look like a moonscape with a few rooting pigs. So I think the term pasture really means pigs that are outdoors, in fresh air, with room to move, root, soak in water/mud, and get that pasture rotated.

June 2, 2017 at 1:59 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home