Two days before we went on our annual Vacation On The Beach, our friend Bernie the Pig Farmer and his wife, Amie, stopped by for a visit. They’d come all the way from New Hampshire, just to have a look at Bubble and see how she was doing.
We were immensely grateful for this because Bernie just knows so gosh darned much about pigs. We thought for sure he’d be able to tell how soon she’d be pigging out and whether she looked good in every other way.
Bernie looked her over and decided that all was well; until he got to her backside.
“What’s going on there?” he asked, pointing to a large, impacted collection of poop causing her rear to bulge horribly.
“Yeah, that’s been like that for about a week.”
“She hasn’t pooped in a week?”
“No, she has; but then it just goes back to looking like that. Is that bad?”
“Yeah… that’s nawt good. We gotta get that outta her. Get a board and a bucket of warm, soapy water.”
And so we cornered her in the shed, where Bernie unceremoniously removed every last bit of that unwholly agglomeration.
Next, I got to chuck bucketfuls of soapy water at her butt.
And THEN she was ready to pig out.
But Bernie and Amie felt certain that there was little chance she’d go while we were away. Judging by her demeanor and her teats, they said, she likely had one to three weeks. This was wonderful news! We could go away for our annual Vacation On The Beach and not worry about a) missing the birth or b) not being there to handle any issues that might arise.
What a relief.
We left that Sunday and had prepped our caretakers with all the information we thought they would need to handle the pigs, goats, chickens, and gardens. We’d stocked up on feed and hay and even posted notes here and there to make the process easier. After all, these fine folks are also on vacation; animal care should be fun and simple, right?
They awoke Wednesday morning to find 11 pink and healthy piglets and one slightly blue, not so healthy one.
We couldn’t believe it.
Thankfully, our friends handled the situation like the pros that they most certainly aren’t and we didn’t even have to drive back home once. They managed to separate the dying piglet (an emotionally Herculean task in and of itself), run a length of fencing to separate Squeak from Bubble and the babes, run another length of electric wire because Squeak continued to bust through the fencing, extend the hose for watering, compost the placenta, and, in the middle of it all, discard our long-suffering chicken who finally died after weeks of staring at the wall in the mud room all day.
Meanwhile, we were at the beach.
As a further boon to our particular good luck, Jeff Bush happens to know his way around a camera and, as a result, the rest of this post will be filled with adorable pictures of piglets. Enjoy!