We are expecting a bit of a piglet storm here with 5 litters expected in the next month or so. We had the first of the five early early Tuesday morning. First time mom "Guinness" farrowed (gave birth to) 10 perfect piglets which is a good number for a first litter. Summer farrowing sure is a lot less stressful than winter farrowing! The weather is warm and beautiful here now meaning I can pretty much let the sows do their thing without any help from me. In the winter, the piglets could easily freeze to death if I don't get them dried off and into their insulated "baby box" quickly.
Guinness and her piglets will spend about 5 days in the barn before we put them back out in the pasture/woodlands and move Betty and Maggie in who are due to farrow on the 9th & 10th. We try to time things so we always have two sows farrowing together. They can keep each other company when it's time to come into the barn (usually a few days before their due date) and co-parenting works really well. They'll take turns feeding and when it's cold, the sows will sleep belly to belly with all the piglets in between them.
Unfortunately, this isn't the experience most sows have. If you haven't read it already, I encourage you to read my blog about gestation crates which explains the difference between what we do and how most pork is raised. If you like what we're doing, please share this blog with your friends and consider buying some pork as that's really the only way we can continue to do what we do.
Here's a short video of Guinness with her piglets.