Daphne delivers first litter

The Big Lad watches as a piglet is delivered

Our Berkshire gilt, Daphne, started farrowing at lunchtime, just as our neighbour came over to get a hand moving his sheep onto our main field.

As it’s her first litter, Daphne needed supervision so I had to rope the Other Half in as midwife.

It’s not usually the OH’s job as she’s somewhat squeamish but she managed—even popping her finger down a piglet’s throat to clear its airway and prompt the gag reflect to get it going.

Daphne delivered nine piglets, seven boars and two gilts, but one of the boars only breathed once before dying.

The rest are doing well, as is the Other Half!

Daphne's first litter

Daphne has taken to mothering very well, while all eight of her surviving piglets are strong and suckling well. Not all sows are this good when delivering their first litters, so we definitely picked a excellent one.

The Wee Un checks one of the piglets

First-time sows can panic, kill their piglets and attack people when the defensive instinct kicks in. We were very wary with Daphne when farrowing started but she maintained her normal, calm, friendly and trusting personality throughout. As a result, the boys were able to come in by turn towards the end of the farrowing and see what was happening, much to their interest and delight.

10 Responses to “Daphne delivers first litter”

  1. The boys were fascinated when the afterbirths were delivered as each contained a thumb-sized, non-viable embryo. They were able to feel the tiny bones in each and see how much development takes place between that stage and farrowing.

  2. welld one Daphne and OH too.

    I think its great when kids an witness birth and death through animals etc

  3. Excellent!

  4. Well done to all concerned, I love the coffee ring mark on the top piglet in the second photo!

  5. I had to put one of the piglets down as it had a blind anus. I’ll post in more detail on this later.

  6. Well done OH….Well done Daphne…. Great to have happy news !

  7. I enjoyed watching the piglets being born. Wee ‘un

  8. I enjoyed watching up close as a piglet was born.

  9. mummys little angel Reply 28 June, 2009 at 17:04

    Wee’un and Big Lad J&J will be so jealous as every time we come they ask “are there going to be any piglets ready to be born and can we watch?”


  1. Links for the Big Lad’s P6/7 class « Musings from a Stonehead - 28 September, 2010

    [...] Daphne delivers first litter [...]

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