Thursday, February 21, 2013
Black Beauty's first litter (to Gizmo)
This funky looking yound lady is 'Black Beauty'. She is a curly sheba throw back, born at another stud from some mixed line heritage. She doesn't have the best 'sheba' sweep over her face, but has good density and some nice length.
Daddy pig 'Gizmo' - shown below, is the boy we thought wasn't able to father curly offspring after his last litter to another curly sow produced all straight coated bubs. So this has thrown us a bit! There is a very small chance that the babies were sired by Gizmo's son 'Talbot' (a result of the last litter of straight-coated bubs), but if so it means this litter were born 2-weeks early. (and I've seen premie bubs, and these guys were not). So it seems Gizmo is the most likely genetic contributor. I cannot explain why one litter with a curly sow produced 4 straight bubs though, while this one produced 5 curlies. (Curl gene is recessive in australia. This should mean that 2 x curly parents can ONLY produce curly offspring. I know for a fact that Gizmo was the only possible father of the last litter as well... so something odd is going on here. The most likely scenario is that BB and Giz both share the same form of the curl gene, but that this was a different gene to the sow in the last litter. The only way to test this is to try future matings with BB and her offspring bred back into the rest of our curly pigs).
Delivery happened at about 3pm on the 11th Feb 2013. BB was HUGE and had been fully dilated for about 5 days. A friend at a fellow stud suggested a quick bath might help bring on labour. So she got a very quick dip, then went out onto the grass for an afternoon of snoozing and grazing.
3pm that day also coincided with the time the new tower cage was delivered (see last post) - so in the midst of helping clear out the space for that and paying for the cage, I looked over to see some distinctive birthing action happening in BB's pen. As soon as I got a chance I carefully checked on BB and she had delivered 4 babies. I popped inside to grab some paper towels to help dry them up a bit as mum had her work cut out for her - but when I got back there were now 5 babies!
We have 'Salem' (boy), 'Safi' (boy), 'Silk' (girl), Sarabi (girl) and Scout (boy).
Safi and Silk were not standing well, and did not seem as strong as their siblings. I did not have much hope for them, as experience has shown that regardless of birth weight, if the babies do not fight for their own survival, there is not much chance. Sure enough, poor little Safi and Silk passed away the following day.
This left us with three strong, gorgeous curly-sheba bubs. These are their updated photos taken this morning. Salem is actually looking like he might get more of an alpaca coat (just two rosettes on his rump), but Scout and Sarabi look to have at least 4-6 rosettes across their bodies, and they each have the crest rosette as well. They should also (fingers crossed) all have two copies of the rosette gene - meaning they will breed more consistent offspring in the future.
At this stage it's looking like Salem and Sarabi will have the best coats (the agouti is the best colouring for density). But we'll keep all three for now to monitor progress. These guys are so rare, and have taken us so long to get to this point.