The piglets were born on Saturday and by Sunday night, the weather had gotten really cold.
After finding one little one dead on Sunday morning, we needed to ensure that the remaining nine were as protected as possible insofar as we could interfere.
We could pretty much only interfere by making sure that their shed was protected against the overnight chill. With temperatures dropping into the low 40s, those little guys would need more than just Mama to keep them going.
Once again, it was a job for Farmer Dave.
Dave is pretty great at ensuring that the animals have what they need to make it through the cold.
He started by hanging a sheet where the larger cracks would potentially let in rain or cold and, over that, draped a huge tarp to cover almost the entire face of the structure. Once that was done, he brought a couple hay bales to block openings around the shed, and then hung a heat lamp.
This was a good start, but it wasn’t enough. The piglets were still visibly shivering and a visibily shivering piglet (while ADORABLE) is not one that’s going to survive.
The next step was to affix two space heaters to the wall, high enough that Mama couldn’t reach them, but low enough that the heat would reach its intended targets.
This step made me panic because I was sure that a) the heaters would fall and set the hay on fire and burn the shed down and kill everyone inside or b) the heat would rise and go out the top of the shed and never reach the piglets and they would die.
Dave patiently tolerated my worrying and went so far as to demonstrate the automatic turn-off function on each heater when tilted sideways.
So, then all I had to worry about was it not keeping them warm enough.
The last step was to bring bath towels to stuff into gaps in the side wall where we could feel the heat escaping.
The end result was the most ramshackle looking mess you ever saw.
But it totally worked.
Despite our electric meter spinning like a levitating graphene (look it up), we could rest easy knowing that these nine little piggies and their big, fat mama would make it through this cold spell.
At one point, Mama even moved the whole gang over toward the doorway.
Evidently, she needed to cool down a bit.