I'm at that age where everyone is having babies. My facebook news feed is full of my favourite people, photos of their ultrasounds, newborn pictures and then photos of their wee one(s) as they grow. Someday I may join them in the realm of human babies.
But in 2015, I became the proud "parent", "father" even, of 18 piglets. Some of you may be confused by this. But, having been the primary provider of artificial insemination (AI), I feel that I can claim being directly responsible for both Sneeze and Hiccup's litters of piglets. Bryan gets credit as well.
I came back to the farm full time, permanently, starting January 1, 2015. Pigs have always been one of my favourite farm animals, and I decided that if I was taking over the farm business from my renowned parents, I needed to make part of it - me. So, we purchased 2 certified, organic Berkshire/Duroc gilts from friends and I started my steep learning curve about everything pig.
We've raised pigs for years from chunks. Pasturing them, feeding them, providing them with an incredible life, before finishing them. But... We'd NEVER bred, farrowed and raised piglets up from birth. So, why not now?
Lets just say that there is a lot, A LOT, of information out there about how old, and what weight you should first breed your gilts at. Then there is even more information about detecting their heats, how to get them to show their heat and the fine art of breeding. You tube and google definitely provided an ample amount of opportunities for me to have questionable search histories.
With the help of a local pastured pork guru - Jeff, the wisdom of my seamen delivery person - Louis, and the humour and support of my neighbour - Jake and support of my parents and other MPOF folks, we managed to get both Hiccup and Sneeze pregnant. Then, when we did the math about what 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days was from the various times they could have gotten pregnant, I realized that the majority of them were while I was away as a voluntary crew member on eXXpedition Amazon.
In December 2015, between them, Sneeze and Hiccup gave birth to 18 wonderful, healthy piglets that we are currently raising up for our delicious early summer pork. They can't wait to meet you at the May open farm days!