We are just about to start the season when Hogwash Farm is awash with piglets. We have 30 sows and two boars that produce around 400 piglets per year. Pigs can reproduce all year and our sows have two litters per year. The gestation for a pig is 114 days (or three months, three weeks and three days as the old timers used to say). Litters average anywhere from 6-16 piglets and the piglets are 2-3 lbs and are completely mobile as soon as theyʼre born.
Our pigs live out side year-round and so piglets are born in all kinds of weather and usually do pretty well as long as Mom is around to protect them and keep them warm. Body heat is essential this time of the year and youʼll often see a bunch of piglets in a pile trying to conserve heat.
Sows usually farrow(birth) without any assistance from us. The piglets come out in a thin sac that usually scuffs off during birth. Labor can last several hours and it averages about 30 minutes per piglet. Piglets can come out head first or back legs first depending on where they are in the uterus. A sow usually has two placentas which can come out at any time during the birthing process and the sows often eat when they are all done.
As soon as the piglet enters the world it tries to make itʼs way to the sows belly to nurse. A piglet will nurse exclusively for three weeks and will then start eating and drinking anything the sow consumes. Piglets are weaned anywhere from 6-8 weeks and are usually 25-45 lbs.
Our Spring piglets sell out early every year and go to various farms and individuals that will raise them for six months (when they weigh 250-300 lbs) and they go for slaughter. We keep about 100 of our piglets each year to raise out for meat for the CSA and other sales.