Monday, April 17, 2017

Baby pigs and baby goats

My friend and midwife Cathy has a house out west, across the mountains from us. (If only we could dig a tunnel straight through so we could visit more easily!) We love to go out to her farm and visit her at any time, but this Spring she was being midwife to two goats and a pig, so we were especially excited to go see the babies!

We went a couple different times, and both times we had so much fun! We love eating a picnic out on Cathy's grass—warm Spring sun shining down—so much silence, with just the birds and the whistle of the train going by—and so much open space. It feels peaceful and restorative to be there, and to be with her. She is one of those people that just radiates peace and calm.

First we met the baby goats. There is a litter of three little boy goats (Thunder, Yoda, and Chili), and then another litter where only one of the three babies survived—the sweet little girl Lucky. I think Lucky is my favorite! But it's a very close thing.
Lucky liked to be held.
Malachi really seemed to bond with her. She lay back in his arms as happy as could be.
Lucky and her mama.
The goats are so funny and bouncy. They BOUND instead of walking. And they hop up on everything!
Such a beautiful setting!
 Malachi, communing soul-to-soul
Malachi and Chili. Thunder wants to be held too!
All the goats really liked Malachi. There must be something Goaty about him. :)
They liked Daisy too!
Even Theodore had a try at holding Lucky. He was slightly nervous about the mama goat, but he loved the babies, once he got used to the idea of them gamboling around him. He was very serious about the responsibility of having one in his arms! And afterwards, he asked to look at this picture about a thousand times. He loves "Teddy holding the goatie!"
Teddy also quite liked the swingset.

On our second visit, we got to meet the one-week-old piggies! We had been SO excited about their upcoming birth. We met the mama, Tillie, and the daddy, Orion, last year when THEY were just babies! And Tillie looked SO big and uncomfortable and tired when she was pregnant, we were just happy for her when the babies were finally born. She had 14 little piglets, and 13 survived. As soon as we got into the barn we could hear them grunting and squeaking and trotting around.
But we still weren't prepared for how CUTE they were! So many little oinkers!
You can't really tell how tiny they are until you see them next to their mama!
So many different colors and patterns. We couldn't decide which ones we liked best. Some of us liked the all-pink piggy. Some liked the all-black one best. Some liked the very spotty one, and some liked the ones that just had a few spots like their mama.
This half-and-half pig was cute too!
This one is Batman. I can't decide if he's cuter standing up like this…
Or digging around on the ground with his little baby snout!
Junie, our pig-lover, was SO HAPPY to be there. You'll note she is wearing her piggy hat for the occasion.
The girls liked brushing Tillie's back while she nursed the piggies. Tillie liked it too. She sighed with contentment and smiled that happy pig-smile.
Tillie seemed to prefer to nurse the piglets lying down, but some of them tried to get in a few little nips while she was eating, too! :)
Some of the piggies SQUEALED and SHRIEKED when Cathy picked them up. That made Tillie nervous. But they soon calmed down.
Junie brought her little pig, Oinkie, to meet the piglets too. Here they are getting introduced to each other. I do think the all-pink one was my favorite.
They have such bright eyes and cute little faces! Tillie and Orion too. You can see the intelligence and gentleness in their eyes. Cathy told us that Orion took such good care of Tillie while she was having the babies. He was her midwife, helping her through the birth! (I don't have pictures of Orion, I guess. But he's half black and half pink. He was in a different part of the barn so he wouldn't accidentally step on all the little piggies running around! He's a very big pig.)
Cathy told us that each piglet has his particular nipple that he uses to nurse. Lucky there are the right number of nipples so every baby can have one! Sometimes there are more piglets than nipples, and that's a problem. (Maybe that's what happened to Wilbur in Charlotte's Web.) One of my favorite things is watching the piggies tumble all over each other when their mama lies down to nurse them. They grunt and squeak and scramble and step on top of each other in their rush for milk.
But then, after a few minutes, everyone gets sorted out, and they settle down in two neat little rows of pig. I love it! Like tidy little sausages…if you'll forgive the metaphor! :(
We loved meeting these little piglets and all the other animals! What fun!

1 comment:

  1. Oh my! That picture of Tillie looking up at Cathy holding her baby pig to show you guys. Curious? Worried? It's just so great -- that mommy pig face! And all of them settled and snuggly nursing is also just so happy. Mike couldn't find us a spring break pig this year. It is a tricky thing to find one ready to leave their mom that is still tiny and snuggly. The one last year was a runt, but when he asked for runts this year people seemed horribly offended that their pig might have a runt.

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