Story of a Pampered Piglet

| 12/9/2016 10:06:00 AM

Tags: baby animals, raising livestock, pigs, animal husbandry, Laura Berlage, Wisconsin,


Our 12-hour traveling companion under his heat lamp. Behind him is a stuffed sock for companionship.

It isn’t hard to see that the animals on our farm have it pretty good. During inclement springtimes, baby chick brooder boxes are often setup right in our walk-out basement, bottle lambs get their start in a stock tank in the kitchen, and many a runty piglet has lived in a tub in the house until big and strong enough to fend for itself in the barn.

This tendency to give struggling baby animals some extra TLC to help them through the difficult time has led to many an epic adventure. One bottle lamb named Edelweiss lived in a cardboard box next to Kara’s bed and traveled in the minivan with us on trips to Ashland and Madison. She thought she was one of the dogs in the house and would gladly walk in the front door if you’d let her, well after she was full-grown.

The smallest of triplets, Edelweiss’ mother had rejected her and stepped on her abdomen, which would usually spell the demise of a lamb. But with careful attention, lots of patience, and extra care, Edelweiss became the grandmother or great-grandmother of many of the sheep in our flock today.

On another occasion, three bottle piglets had to ride in the car on another long trip. Feedings must be regular, and if no one is at home to attend to the needy little ones, well, they have to come along. These pigs were about football-sized, and in the “screaming demon” stage. They quickly learned that when we stopped, they got fed, so every possible stop was a chance to loudly voice their hunger — every stop light, every stop sign, every halt in traffic. Our ears rang for days, but the piglets grew up healthy and vigorous.

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