Arriving back to the homestead from a fun girls' out evening, I did not anticipate the choices the coming hours would bring.

As you all know, we have been anxiously anticipating and working to prepare for Lady-Bug's farrowing event.  With her belly ever swelling, we knew our wait was drawing to a close.  I have been checking on her more frequently over the last few days so I would not miss the blessed event.  I pulled in and immediately changed out of my cute shoes and into my muck boots to spend time making sure Lady-Bug was settled in for the night.

As I entered the pen, I immediately heard an odd grunting from her side that I had not heard before.  I quickened my steps through the sucking mud underfoot and rounded the corner.  There in her house Lady-Bug stood; panting, grunting and anxious.  Below her lay a beautiful black faced and cream kissed nose piglet, noisily rooting around.  My immediate response of excitement was quickly snuffed out when I realized the piglet had mangled back legs.  From mid-back forward the piglet looked perfectly healthy, but the hind legs were in the shape of a pretzel.

As my husband was away this weekend, it was just me at the homestead.  After 20 minutes went by and Lady-Bug produced no additional piglets, I knew I needed reinforcements.  I called my mom who quickly came out to assist.  As the rain steadily fell, Lady-Bug panted, pushed and paced.  As the minutes ticked by with no other piglets making their way into the world, my gut began to sense something was going very wrong.  With only 1% of all pig births running into a problem, I tried to reassure myself.

With my mom and I both praying for safe delivery of the remaining piglets and for comfort for Lady-Bug, we stood with flashlights and worried faces as the rain steadily soaked us.

Knowing the likelihood of having to put down the deformed piglet, I called Gabe and he began his journey back home.  Although I know if I had to put the piglet down I could, at that moment, I wanted to have my full attention on the distressed Lady-Bug.

6/16/2013 4:43:37 AM

Redhead, I'm so sorry to hear about Ladybug and her piglet. Farm life can be heart wrenchingly difficult at times. You handled the situation a lot better than I probably would have. It was always my job to take the family pets to have them euthanised when they got too old and had no quality of life left. It's one of the reasons why I don't have any animals. I surely hope that your next pig experience will be much better. Paul Harvey is right. Life goes on with farm chores and caring for the rest of the barnyard even after a traumatic event such as yours. Have the best day that you can.

6/13/2013 1:47:19 PM

I'm so sorry to hear about Ladybug! A sad day on the homestead indeed. My husband and I like to say that a life with critters gets you up close and personal with the circle of life! This is real life that no "reality" show on tv can ever capture. And as you said, life must go on as others are still dependent on you. Just discovered your GRIT blog and your web page. Hope you'll consider checking us out too. :)

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