Violet had been bagging up so I moved her to the maternity pen. I spread hay around for when she was ready to nest.
She spent a few hot days being miserable. “I done being pregnant!!” She’s been a good sport though. One evening I had a guest over and she was very vocal. Hormones, but not nesting, tiniest bit of milk. I figured a day or two to go.
I checked on her in the morning and she had milk. LOTS. But weirdly…she looked like she hadn’t “dropped.”
Labor soon, water broke but…weird….something looks off. Her breathing was fast, contractions small. It looked like she wasn’t having uterine contractions at all, so I figure were a few hours away. I went inside and came back out to find a piglet! So I sat down and watched the show. and waited. and waited. While she tossed and turned i kept the piglet safe
Something wasn’t going right….after over an hour I cleaned up and went in. There was a HUGE piglet still at the cervix. pulled it out. waited, 30 minutes later went in again. next piglet was halfway down the birth canal when i pulled. Okay, maybe she’ll be ok. My mom came up to watch the rest of the farrowing while I had to go to work (new boss, have to play by the rules)
Around noon I get a call that my mother had to pull a few piglets and a few came out on their own. Violet had been asking for help and when mom tried to leave Violet would get upset, so she spent quite a bit of time just comforting her. After the update she went back out. More piglets. A total of 12, momma was being very careful. I had a call into the vet for follow up care after pulling piglets-what antibiotics would be best for Violet so she doesn’t get a uterine infection. When I came home she was happy and proud. I gave her some molasses water to up her sugar levels, she asked for some food so I fed her. Her temp was good. All was well, right?
Then next morning I went out and she looked ragged. So did the piglets. She didn’t want food or drink, her eyes were red and closed. Somethings not good. I tried to give her penicillin but the damn needle kept blowing off and I have to get to work. I called the vet back, they are still busy. So I go to work and finally get ahold of the vet. He’s very concerned she needs antibiotics now. So my mom, my hero and Violets, too, gets the antibiotics the vet drew up and takes them up to the farm.
When she arrived the piglets were dehydrated, lying everywhere. Violet was low on milk. Violet herself was very short tempered. My mother tried to inject her with the antibiotics and Violet tried to attack. Eventually with some guidance from the vet and some help from the neighbors she was able to give Violet the most important medicine, Draxxin. She wasn’t able to give her the banamine- an anti-inflammatory pain killer. Violet still didn’t want to eat or drink until I suggested cold peaches that I picked this weekend. Mom picked the ripest of them all and offered them to Violet…She couldn’t resist. She ate the peaches and later mom bought her a watermelon. Slowly she was able to start rehydrating and producing milk again. The piglets were feeling better once she was feeding them again.
When I got home we tried again to give her the banamine, but she was not having it. I stuck her with the needle and she growled and snapped. My mother, terrified after herself seeing the nasty side of a sow, made me promise to give up for the night and not to give her the medicine alone. Okay I promise! I went back out later to feed her more watermelon and some hard boiled eggs I had just made for her. Oh boy! did the eggs hit the spot! Right after she fed the piglets and milk was back to dripping out the unused teats. Before I went to bed she enjoyed 9 eggs and the last quarter of the watermelon. Piglets were eating and she looked more comfortable. Finally at midnight, after a 12 hour shift at work, I got to bed.
This morning I woke up at 5 am. Can I administer banamine orally? Some googling indicated, yeah, its fine orally! So I got up and injected the remaining eggs with banamine, mixed in a little barley to soak up the remaining liquid and topped it with applesauce to make it delicious. I offered the mixture to Violet and she licked the bowl clean. Yay! She asked for more food so i offered her the bowl from yesterdays breakfast. She looked at it for a second then tore into it. Shes got her appetite back!
Hopefully she gets over this. We both “went in” quite a few times which can lead to infection. Obviously she was starting to develop one. This is exactly why antibiotics really are a boon to animal husbandry and why I am no longer organic. These drugs, when used correctly, save lives and reduce pain and suffering.
This is my first problem farrowing. I am lucky that I have had so many good farrowings that I recognized something was off. I believe it was a mixeture of two things: over feeding (she was on only 5 lbs of very rich food) which resulted in big piglets and uterine inertia and dehydration from the heat. I don’t know for sure, i didn’t have a vet look at her but I am guessing thats what happened. I’ll keep you guys updated.