Loose Farrowing Barn Update

It has been a week since we put the 3 sisters in the newly renovated farrowing barn and began our no-pen farrowing experiment.
Things got off to a rough start the day Miss Blaze went into labour and attacked Elsa.
After lots and lots of boo-boo spray and ear scratches for poor Elsa, things seemed to settle down. Miss Blaze had her babies, and kept to herself on the South West side of the barn, building a huge and elaborate nest for herself and her piglets to live in.
We tried training the piglets to go under the 2 heat lamps when they weren’t nursing, but every time we left, they would just go back over to Momma and sleep with her. That’s okay; it’s warm and cozy in the barn, and now that it’s warmed up again, we’ve removed the lamps.
Over the weekend, Starr and Elsa also had their babies. When I went into the barn Saturday morning, Elsa was resting after the birth and Starr was feeding both sets of piglets. She was smiling.
Today everyone seems to have decided where all of the nests will be. Each sow has taken a corner of the barn.
There is surprisingly little fussing going on between the 3 sisters. They are calm and nobody is fighting over food or space, which is how I want it.
The babies are curious and are getting very good at climbing straw hills and exploring their space.
Here are a few pictures we took this afternoon. In the first picture we have all 3 sows fixing up Elsa’s nest together. Note the piglets all mingling and then following each other in single file in the next 2 shots.
I also took an interesting picture of three piglets slurping up some water near the watering station in the corner. I’ve never seen piglets do that. The slurping sounds were adorable.
More updates to come in a few days! ~Lisa and the Pigs

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