Our First Piggie Litter!!!


Well, Monday afternoon we noticed that Ebony was building a nest.  She was working hard at it, shoving all the shavings into a big corner spot.  And she was breathing very fast.  I had read that labor in hogs is usually kicked off by an increase in their breathing.  Normal hogs take about 30-35 breaths per minute.  A hog in labor will shoot up to at least 80 a minute or more.


We timed her and she was up around 60 a minute.  Definately getting closer to labor time.  Nest building is usually a sign of 12-24 hours till delivery time.  We gave her a big armful of sweet hay to work into her plans and she was happy.  Immediately she started to work that into the corner.

By early evening, her BPM shot up to 95+  and she was getting very very restless.  Up and down and up and down.  We knew that she was getting into a more heavy labor period, so we gathered up our supplies and grabbed a few snacks and chairs to start the vigil.   This was about 10 pm on October 1st.  Her second due date day!


We took turns and it was so neat, all the other animals were milling about and very curious about what was going on.  Cody was very interested and would come to visit often, just watching and staring at the panting pig girl!


Through it all, Ebony really wanted out attention.  She’s a first time mom and I have to think that a part of her just was not sure what was going on.  Sure, there were hormones and natural urges and all, but still, I doubt she had any “So you’re going to have a litter”  books or TV shows for her to watch.  And she didn’t have any other sows around to scare the living daylights out of her.   She just knew something was up and she was very uncomfortable.  She would come over and watch pats and treats from Maggie often.  She seemed comfortable with us there.

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Finally at 1 AM on Tuesday morning early, she laid down and began to push quite firmly.   And within a few minutes, the first little piglet was born!  Unlike sheep and goats, she didn’t do anything about the piglet, just laid there and rested.   The little girl baby was on her own.  Super wiggly and active, still, we thought it best to help out a bit.  We had an old towel ready and we were also a little worried that Mom might roll on the piglet as she was working on another contraction.  So, we moved the piglet just a foot away, and dried her up and let her rest in the straw as her sister was born!

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Within a half hour, five piglets had been born.  Each one we dried and made sure the cord broke and they were active.   One piglet was a little lackluster, just not as wiggly and robust, so Maggie held her and rubbed her good to help get the circulation going and dry her off.    It was a little chilly out, rainy and we didn’t want them to get too chilled.   Little newborn pigs are at risk to cold or harsh weather.


We thought she might be done, as the average litter of American Guinea Hogs is between 5 and 8.  Still, she wasn’t really responding much to the piglets and her breathing was rather fast.  At the highest point that we registered it, the BPM was 139.  Maggie got the piglet over to start their first meal while we waited.  We knew that she would be finished when she passed the placentas, but it just didn’t seem like she was finished.


And sure enough, she wasn’t!   The last little girl was born about 2 am.  At that point, Ebony’s breathing began to calm down, and we decided it seemed she was done.  Around 3 am she passed the placentas and everyone was busy nursing and getting that very important first milk for their success!

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Ebony snuffled them and sort of checked them over, not exactly very motherly but more in surprise!  Then she just decided it was nap time and promptly passed out for an hour or so.  She was tuckered out!  The little babies were strong and vigorous and they wasted no time in finding their spot and nursing for all they could muster!   So cute!!!!

And all girls!!!!!   We could hardly believe it.  Kind of unusual!   And yet, happy!  Girl piggies are what everyone seems to want for the most part!  We were pleased… our first pig birth was a success and everything was by the textbook!  Simple simple…


The little goatie girls all cuddled up right outside the door and patiently waiting.   So cute.



One very interesting fact we discovered.   Cody has a job!  He’s the night herd watchman.

At one point, I stepped outside to look at the stars and just stretch my legs and I could see Cody off in the shadows of the middle yard, slowly moving through the area.  As I watched, I realized that he was walking from sleeping sheep to sleeping sheep, stopping, lowering his head and checking on them and then moving to the next one.  The sheep didn’t stir or panic, just kept sleeping.   He checked on the rams in the front pasture and then even checked on the Angoras and the two milk does.  And then he would stop, listen like a statue and then slowly make his way back up to the front of the yard where the ram pasture is.  He did this over and over!

Aww…   And I thought he didn’t really like the little worts!  Turns out, at night, he is their protector.  Like a donkey or a llama might do.

Have I mentioned how much I love that pony?  He really is the best pony in the universe.


Buttercup was very interested in the hog babies.  She came in a lot to watch them.   She really will be the little momma goat.  She is so sweet and motherly already!  It will be fun to see her with her first goatie baby or two.  I suspect she will be an awesome mom.

It was fun to  see how the other animals would waken and come to peek into the little house.  They were all curious.  I’m sure partially due to us being out there late at night, but they also seemed very interested in Ebony and her little brood.  It reminded me of how the Christ child was born in a stable and all those that came to honor Him, both great and small.  It was a neat experience and I am sure we’ll be around for future births.  We don’t want our animals to labor alone and possibly have harm come to them.  It was a late night, but it was a wonderful one.  Just full of six little blessings.


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About Mobymom

the banjo player for Deepwater Bluegrass, and the editor of BuckeyeBluegrass.com as well as the main graphic designer of the Westvon Publishing empire. She is a renaissance woman of many talents and has two lovely daughters and a rehab mobile home homestead to raise.

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