It was much colder than average for this time of year which made it difficult. One morning was eleven degrees below zero F. One snowstorm of several inches occurred.
I only opened the huts to let the sows go out to drink, eat, and urinate/defecate. Keeping the huts closed help to keep some of the sows body heat in the hut. Having the huts in the hoop barn kept the moisture from the snow from being a factor. I used about one bag of wood shavings for each hut and gave a fresh slice of straw daily. This was on top of a base of wood chips from Menard’s.
The sows all farrowed within a week of each other. They averaged over 11 piglets born alive. Now, about ten days later they have an average of 8 piglets nursing, so there was a good deal of loss. When conditions are this difficult, it seems that piglet vitality plays a large part in survival as well as the mothering ability of the sow.
As the temperature warmed into the 30s F, I left the doors open and put the rollers on to keep the piglets in but allow the sows to come and go as they please. The piglets only stayed in for a few more days before they began to jump out. So I’ve removed all the rollers now and the piglets are able to explore.
The piglets in these photos are only a week old. It’s amazing how precocious they are. Look at the open mouth on the black and white piglet below, trying to decide if my boot is worth eating.