... Have some cute pig pictures!
Pigita says, "I just had this completely awesome litter of adorable babies, and I haven't squished any yet! Isn't it awesome?"
10 days old, and she's still with us!
... Pretty soon, she's going to need a name other than "Boopy."
Equally exciting is that all seven piglets born the day before Boopy are also still with us! (Again, knocking on wood, here ... Just seems prudent.) Final tally was three girls and four boys -- and we'll take that!
Adorable baby pig pictures coming soon. It's unpleasantly cold out today, and they, unlike Boopy, are not living in the nice, warm garage.
This weekend, spring must have finally, officially arrived, because Baby Season has finally, officially begun. It's early this year!
First, we had a litter of Idaho Pasture Pigs born on Saturday. This is our first litter for 2016, and we are very pleased to report that (knock-on-wood, fingers crossed) they seem to be doing well. I type that with the protection of various anti-jinx hexes, because we've had some challenges so far with our past farrowing -- but so far, so good with these guys!
Then, yesterday, we had something totally (well, pretty much totally) unexpected -- a baby alpaca. Now, clearly I knew that the dam was pregnant, and I knew that she was due in the spring, but according to that theoretical 330-360 day gestation length for the species, she shouldn't be due until April at the earliest. I knew that it was possible for her to go early, but I thought she'd have more common sense than that!
Alas, this one (Prayer, nicknamed Bee, as in, "Witch with a...") did not read the section of the How To Be An Alpaca Manual that discusses gestation length. She thought that 318 days would be a fine time to cook her baby, and decided to push her out yesterday afternoon. She needed some help with this; in keeping with her name, she did not want to accept this help at first, but eventually (begrudgingly) acquiesced. Baby was slightly under-cooked (she has some signs of dysmaturity, meaning, basically, that she's slightly under-cooked), but not too badly. Mom has some milk, but not a ton, so between those two factors, we have ourselves another bottle baby. Also, it's still cold out and she weighs all of nine pounds, so she and mom are living in the garage at the moment.
So far, she is doing as well as can be expected for a nine-pound, premature cria, but that statement is also accompanied by the caveats: "Fingers crossed," "knock-on-wood."
So, pigs: Check. Alpacas: Weirdly early check. ... Okay, sheep. Your move!
This blog does not have NEARLY enough adorable baby pig pictures!
This litter belongs to Paris the sow. Remember Paris? When we first brought her home just over a year ago, she looked like this:
Today, she looks like this:
Paris had eight pigs-- not too bad for her first! She has been a fantastic mom so far. We don't have a great creep set up right now, so Pree, our first sow to farrow, had some difficulties with her litter in the form of the other hogs picking on them. The lone survivor of that litter is being fostered by an absolutely wonderful couple in Weare, and is now thriving.
Paris is the Mama Boss Hog, though, so her litter is doing great. They are also super ridiculously cute -- and polka dotted! How cool is that?
Sadly, because of confusions with the registry, these beautiful piggies likely cannot be registered, although they are pure Idaho Pasture Pigs. The boys will all be bacon (and ham, and pork, etc.); the girls' fate is as yet undetermined. In the meantime, though, they are healthy, thriving, and darned cute. Hooray!
There are definitely not enough pig-related posts on this 'blog. The four newbies are growing up (albeit a lot more slowly than the first two). Our first two gilts were basically free-fed grain, and reached what would be market weight in just a few months. The newbies have been fed grain much more sparingly -- mainly raised on grass haylage -- and have grown at a more "reasonable" rate.
This is almost certainly healthier for them in the long run, but the downside is that it's taking forever to see how our future stud boars are turning out! Thus far, I have been really happy with one of them (Phish, on the left in the photograph) but a little disappointed with the other (P-Nut, on the right). P-Nut has recently undergone a growth spurt, though, and he's starting to look like a stud after all.
I think I still like Phish better, though.
I promised there would be more pigs!
Here are some of the new additions to our Idaho Pasture Pig herd. We are only the third breeder in New England to work with these awesome pigs. I believe there may now be four of us total -- two in New Hampshire and two in Maine. HUGE thanks to the newest breeder in Maine -- her name is Pam, and I do not even know her farm name or I would post it here -- for delivering these cuties!
The big pigs are our first two gilts, Paris and Pancakes. They have grown a bit, eh? The one in front of them is one of our two newest gilts. She still needs a name.
Here is one of our two boars! He has some growing up to do. He still needs a name as well.
Here is the second new gilt (the one who was in the last post). This one is tentatively named Panthera. Going for a "P" theme, here. Yes, she is an Idaho Pasture Pig! They come in lots of different colors. She will be our only IPP who does not have any wattles.
Originally, we had them separated from the big pigs, but the pigs had other ideas. I am so glad that the big ones decided to unite the herd, because they have socialized the little ones -- the new arrivals went from being totally skittish to being curious and friendly, just like the breed is known for!
A lot of Serious Breeding Programs only post Serious Pictures of their alpacas, because their alpacas are Serious Alpacas.
Well, our alpacas are Serious Alpacas, but we acknowledge that not all serious animals LOOK serious all of the time.
Here are some photographs to illustrate that point.
This is Sunny Dee.
Sunny Dee is normally a pretty Serious Alpaca. She is regal and elegant. However, in this photograph, she is not.
This is Logan. Logan is four months old, and he is amazingly serious for a four-month-old animal.
Logan was not feeling terribly serious at the moment this photograph was taken. In fact, he was yawning. Yawning is not at all a serious activity.
Here are two alpacas kissing. That's always cuteness gold. Honey Bun, who is doing the kissing, is usually quite serious, but she is currently very receptive to males (though not yet old enough to breed), and therefore acting a lot less serious than usual. Sheepie, who is the reluctant recipient of her affections, is not really all that serious most of the time, but she's trying really hard to look serious so that Honey Bun will stop kissing her.
Last but not least, here's a pig. No reason; we just want to remind you that we DO have other animals at Howling Hill Farm aside from alpacas.
This is one of the new additions to the Idaho Pasture Pig herd. More on them later!
Idaho Pasture Pigs!
Yes, we got pigs! (Actually, I have been told that "real" hog people NEVER call them "pigs," and never EVER call the babies "piglets," and that to do so is the mark of an amateur -- but I really don't care.) I have never in my life been much of a fan of pigs, so it took me awhile to find the breed that I wanted. It's a good thing that we started the farm in 2013, because said breed had only been released to the general public in 2012. It was created beginning in 2007.
I knew that I wanted Idaho Pasture Pigs after reading that 'blog post, but they are so rare, I figured I would have no luck finding them in New England. Lo and behold, a few weeks ago I stumbled across an ad on Craigslist for IPPs from Grazing Hill Farm in Conway, NH. Heather was awesome to work with and we brought our new gilts home yesterday. So far we love our new additions, and they seem pretty happy to be here themselves!
This is Paris -- the very first thing she did upon being placed in her new pen was to start playing in the dirt.
This is Pancakes (see this sketch from 1990's MTV show The State -- no, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense).
So very, very cute -- and super duper friendly! Yep, we like these gals.
K writes this stuff, for some reason that has yet to become apparent.