|Spots litter of 10 day old piglets|
Real farming is not always real pretty. It takes a hard heart some times.
Yesterday we set about the task of castrating piglets again a small group of cross breds. Don't worry, no pics of such this time. Their mama Spot is our Guard Pig. If she sees trouble such as in a car she does not know she perks up her huge ears and runs along the fence snorting. She is long lean and big, also a great mother.
Her litter was spotted like she is and red like their Red Wattle papa Mad Max. We call these offspring our Spotted Wattles. We had three males of her litter to castrate so Keith loaded mama into the livestock trailer with the lure of milk soaked grain, sort of a Captain Crunch with cream combo. Once locked in and doors welded shut (if any of our mama pigs were to remove our limbs for fear of her babies safety, Spot would be the one with human blood on her breath) Keith gathered up the babes.
Settled in the machine shed with doors closed so mama can't heat baby squeals, Keith sat with the first male in his lap but something was amiss. Instead of two little round lumps where the testicles should be this one had three. All were very close to each other and down low. Keith suggested a hernia might be responsible for the third little bulge. I palpated and with no obvious discomfort on piglet we were hopeful he had three testicles, instead of two and a hernia, sort of like a triple yoker in an egg.
I took aim at the lowest bulge sure it had to be the little gonad and cut. Immediately little pink red loops of bowel came spilling out. I don't swear often, I like to save it for special occasions. This was indeed "special"
In a few seconds Keith and I knew what had to be done and he swiftly euthanized the boy with a whack to the head.
This is why I love my husband.
I could have done it if he wasn't at home. I hate the idea of animals suffering for no good reason. But he was home and he did it very fast. And like any good code team we reviewed our actions looking for opportunities for improvement. What could we have done differently ? Probably nothing, if we'd taken it to the vet he might have repaired the hernia and done the castration in his office but it would be unlikely it could be returned to its mama any time soon, and baby pigs do not often survive being away from their mothers at such a young age. In addition the cost would be more than the pig's value. Sounds harsh but if we kept every animal around for pets we'd be broke. One of those facts of farming.
The other option would have been to have let it alone and grow to market size. We have enough boar meat in our freezer now to meet our own needs for the next years and only a handful of customers who want boar meet so not needed in that regard. We could have raised it to market size and just taken to the sale barn where we would've gotten enough enough to cover our feed costs, not our labor and time costs.
So in retrospect I think we made the right decision but still, I hate those kind of days on our farm
. Hate them.