One of the other sows figured out that Pistachio was getting more food and started pushing her around, so we separated the mama off a week early to the paddock and corral adjacent to the barn. I am still working on the finishing touches on her large farrowing pen, but she is able to come in for shelter, and she is wasting no time in preparing her nest. Everything in the barn was pawed and nosed to test its suitability as nesting material. She even tore off a little of the insulation on the wall.
We put wood shavings and some straw in for her, and as you can see, she is already arranging the furniture, so to speak. This activity will continue up to the time the piglets arrive. I spent an hour in the barn today, watching in fascination.
Pistachio is pawing and raking the straw into heaps, breaking the fluffy straw down into smaller bits. She gathers it up in her mouth to chew the straw down to a size she likes, or to place a clump of it just so. She will move it from one place to another, and she will make a nest-like hollow in the middle of it. She sleeps there for now, but it is all part of her deep instinct to make a safe, warm spot for her pigs.
As you can see, she is moving the straw around pretty rapidly. She was engaged in a flurry of activity, and she was vocalizing throughout, a sound between a grunt and a purr. Occasionally she would stop for a drink and maybe a scratching, then went right back to work. It is fascinating to see how agile her trotters were in forming the pile and raking the straw back and forth, instinctively preparing for her litter.
She is looking healthy and robust, enjoying the extra food as her babies grow larger inside of her day to day. Her body will change rapidly over the next ten days leading up to the farrowing of this, her second litter of pigs. We will post again as we get closer to her due date of February 13th.
Merry Schepers lives on a farm with her heritage pigs in Nixa, MO.