Sunday, August 5, 2012

Still Life

Today was one of those days that are best in the past for today we buried twelve newborn piglets.  The day started well, a bright sunny winters day with the tantalising promise of new life. Petunia came out for her morning feed and it was obvious her time was close, her pendulous udder was swollen and tight with milk steadily dripping from her teats, tiny white splashes sprinkling on the ground. 

This was her second litter; she had raised twelve piglets last time so I was hopeful of fourteen or more this time around.  Somewhere in the birthing process something went wrong, the first four piglets were stillborn, perfectly formed, an ideal size, just no sign of life. The fifth offered hope, a little red saddleback boar only just alive, but hope was cut short as another six stillbirths quickly followed by another briefly clinging to life.  Then for reasons unknown, the final piglet, ironically the runt of the litter, was born in noisy robust health. 
Tonight Petunia has settled down with just one piglet out of thirteen, not a good start but better than nothing.