First and foremost, each and every one of the pigs I work with have their own character, and it is a wonder to get to learn their individual traits. I love mostly working in the maternity ward, as it were, or better known in the industry as the Farrowings. There I get the chance to see piglets being born, and move them around between sows to ensure their survival, (I essentially play God) and it gives me great satisfaction when I watch them do well with their new mothers, knowing I have saved lives. Added to this, sometimes piglets get sat on by their mother's, it is a sad and sorry part of the job, but there are instances, like just the other day, when I arrive at a sow's hut in time to get her up after the piglet has been laid on a while, and these, after given a few moments will revive themselves. It is always pleasing to see this happen, knowing I've played my role of God well.
One of my personal all time favourite pleasures of this job, no matter where I am placed on the unit, is strawing their pens. It is not so much putting the straw in, but standing back and watching them root around and get excited with their new bedding. They love it, play in it, and love lying under it. (Not merely because it's a cold day).
With us being on the brink of warmer weather, most I know will be cheering its coming, but I, like most on the outdoor circuit knows what comes with it. Which is that sows, no matter how presentable we make their huts, will take it upon themselves to make their own bed, outside. Yes, they dig themselves a little pit and drop their litter in it. The digging is good because it ensures their new born don't stray far from her protection, and though I'd love to let them stay this way throughout their lactating period, I must, as all piggers do, put the piglets and mother in the nearest hut. This comes with problems because any new mother will always remember where she farrowed, (gave birth), and will always try and get back there. We counter this by locking her in her new home for a night, but the going is never that simple. She hassles all the way and her jaw is like that of a crocodile's, (something I've been warned about, and, thankfully, never had to experience at first, well, tooth.) Added to this, when other mothers in the same paddock here a piglets cry, or squeal, they all come running. So care must be taken, else face the wrath of up to six sows all at the same time.
Have a great April everyone.
-Charles F. Bond