The Whole Hog Project: spring piglets, and lots of 'em

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When last we heard from Valerie Weihman-Rock and the Wisconsin mulefoots, all five female pigs (four gilts and a sow)--including the Reader's Dee Dee--were getting ready to have their piglets. A little over a week ago two of them farrowed--Demetria gave birth to six, and Diana four. Valerie reported that Diana wasn't taking to motherhood so well--she didn't like having the little ones around her and Valerie was convinced she'd hurt them. Ergo, Demetria is nursing all 10 little ones--8 females, and two males.

So Diana ID'd herself as a good candidate for slaughter. Writes Valerie: "Diana will be ham, bacon, lard, etc. as the first one harvested soon. It is important when raising the heritage breeds to not continue genetics of unfavorable traits (such as being angry, snapping, and not accepting piglets)." 

Then, last Tuesday, our Dee Dee had four piglets, two of which are female (Valerie couldn't tell the sex of the others yet). One of these piglets Friend of the Food Chain David Hammond has arranged to buy--an anniversary gift for his wife, Caroline. He's named it Ermine--after his grandmother. "One of the girls has white hooves and white-around feet," wrote Valerie. "Just like Dee Dee. So this one will be Dave Hammond's 'Ermine.'"

Aww. Nothing says I love you like the gift of meat.

"All the pigs and their piglets are snugly ensconced in partitions covered with artists' canvas tarp," writes Valerie. "And a heat lamp for piglet bunk area. Moms can come and go as they wish and the 'partitions' are to keep piglets from running off in the relative cold of the barn. Their tents are ~70 degrees F inside. And the piglet area under heat lamp is 85-90 degrees F. Rest of barn was 45 [last] weekend. 40 [next] morning. And the boy pigs are happy digging in the mud and pasture."

That's 14 new mulefoots, folks. Stay tuned for photos.

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