Saturday, January 26, 2013

Indigo's boys. Seb's last litter with us.

This is our gorgeous Indigo. She is a pedigree texel sow in lemon agouti and cream. This is her second litter to Sebastian. The first time around they produced 3 sons. This time they've managed 4 sons!

(Daddy pig - Sebastian. He now lives with another stud, so this was our last litter from the gorgeous boy)

I was actually out in the garden weeding when i heard some squealing coming from the tower cage. It sounded a little different to the usual 'that's my comfy bedding, move over' protesting. So I washed my hands and went to investigate. I found this little boy being vigorously cleaned by his mum. He was really squeaking - which was a bit strange. I later discovered that Indigo had accidentally chewed off two of his four front toes in her enthusiasm. It took him a good 4 days to be able to put pressure on that foot.

We called him Thomas. He is mostly white with ruby eyes and a patch of cinnamon agouti on his rump. He weighed in at 60g. Which is really very tiny. His size gave me a heads up that there would be quite a few more bubs to come...

Second born was this tiny boy - little Topaz. Topaz is also predominantly white like his dad, but with a big splotch of gold on his nose and dark eyes. He weighed in at a VERY tiny 40g. I didn't like his chances for survival (often bubs under 50g don't have the strength to be able to keep up with mum/suckle effectively). We started supplemental feeds at 12hrs old for all bubs after we did a weigh in check and realised they'd all lost 5-10g over night. Which is a lot when you only start at 40g.

Third born was little Timber - a very different looking boy to his brothers. He is gold agouti and gold. He weighed in at 60g as well. He doesn't appear to have mastered the art of walking yet though, and we're not sure if it's a physiological thing from being crammed in a belly with 3 other siblings, or a neurological problem from a delayed birth (there was about 20-30min between Topaz's arrival and his arrival). We can only continue with feeds and monitor his progress.

And lastly, little Tovi arrived. Also a darker bub, but with more gold through his coat. He weighed in at 55g. Tovi was the most active from birth and able to follow mum around. Indigo really didn't do her part though, and for the most part ignored her boys. I couldn't actually tell you whether or not the boys ever got to suckle properly from her. Tovi was looking the best during this week, but has actually gone downhill quite quickly over the last 24hrs. We're hoping it's just a set back and that he'll be back to his bright self tomorrow. Chances are that we are going to lose some, if not all of these boys though due to their size. But we'll give it our best shot.

This is a little pic we took of the boys drinking some of their milk supplement yesterday (5 days old).

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

5 months in the life of 'Blessing'

Our very special sow 'Blessing' is now 5 months old (tomorrow actually). She has been specifically bred here at Sirocco Cavy stud to have the characteristics of the sheba guinea pig (long straight coat, lots of rosettes making the coat lift up in all directions), but with curls. This is NOT a standardized breed here in Australia (not sure about the rest of the world), and we're playing with the idea of calling the breed 'Angora' cavies, or 'Angora Mini Yak' - in homage to their Sheba Mini Yak ancestry.

Blessing was born back in August 2012 to a sheba x texel mum, and a texel dad. She and her sister 'Bambi' are just the VERY FIRST examples of this new breed that we have been able to produce. Due to the nature of the genetics at play, it's purely a matter of luck getting all the components to line up in a mating. We will need to produce many more generations, and to bring more rosetted parents into the mix to breed out the 'texel' component - but we're so happy with our initial results, that I think this breed is going to be worth the effort.

We've been documenting the coat growth over the last 5 months with regular photo updates. I find this especially fascinating to go back through:

5 days old:

11 days old:

19 days old:

4 weeks old:

7 weeks old:

10 weeks old:

4 months old:

5 months old:

RIP Trumble

Tiny Trumble passed away quietly in his sleep yesterday. He just wasn't big enough to survive. The Australian summer claims another life here at Sirocco Cavy Stud.

We have been saying this for years now, but this year it has become even more pressing... we really need an indoor set up for our guys... ideally a whole room we can climate control when we get the crazy Australian weather extremes. The mansion cage is great, and the tower cage is set up under cover with a pretty consistent breeze - but they're both still outside. At the mercy of mother nature. And I know this is how the animal kingdom works - but screw that. I want better control!

Monday, January 14, 2013

The heat claims 4 lives.

We've been having a bit of a heat wave here in Australia... it wasn't too bad in our local city until the last few days - Saturday and Sunday have been particularly bad. Usually our pigs are all cool and safe in their hutches at the bottom of the yard in the shade of the trees - but on Saturday, not all of them were able to find shade. In a fluke of luck - I received a phone call mid morning and walked outside to answer it - when I noticed some of the pigs acting odd. I rushed over to find Tallulah, Bambi, Mariella, Crumble, and Sylvester suffering from various stages of heat stroke. Tallulah and Bambi were the worst - at the stage where they had lost muscle tone and were unable to stand or hold their heads up. 

We rushed them all inside to the bath tub, and wet them down with room temperature water. We mixed up some hydrolyte in cool water and syringe-fed it 1ml at a time. Everyone perked up almost instantly - bar Tallulah. We worked so hard, laid her on damp towels, more fluids... but she was just too far gone, and passed away with in hours of us finding her. 

She was an absolute favourite pig, and an incredible important aspect of our curly-sheba breeding program (producing our first curly-sheba bubs), so her loss has hit us hard. We are just to thankful not to have lost her daughter Bambi as well - and can only put it down to Bambi being a lighter colouring, and not having been affected as badly. 

In the midst of all the drama, Crumble's body decided to deliver her babies pre-maturely to lesson the load on her organs following her brush with heat stroke. Crumble never got to the floppy stage, but having her body go from not dilated - to fully dilated and delivering babies in the matter of an hour meant that someone went very wrong there. She was literally expelling babies and walking away from them. It was like she was in a daze and just didn't/couldn't care.

This was Crumble's first litter to Malibu, and we were very excited to see what colours these two would produce. It looks like we got 2 golden agouti, 1 chocolate agouti and 1 lilac/gold argente (like daddy below) in the babies. Three little girls and one little boy...

Because the babies were born inside the house, to a damp mum - they very quickly cooled down themselves and weren't able to maintain their body temperature. We laid them in a 'bed' of toweling to keep them warm - but allowing Crumble access to clean them. She didn't show any interest in them for about 8hrs. We kept them hydrated with supplemental feeds, but it was apparent that they were not quite ready to be born/not well.

The little lady below was the chocolate agouti sow. She was the biggest bub, and last born - but struggled to sit up, and just never regained her strength. She and her sisters passed away shortly after birth.

The only bub to survive the shock entrance into the world was the little boy. He responded best to the feeds, and started to attempt to stand on his own. Once he was on his feet he was able to snuggle with Crumble - who suddenly noticed her babies and became very attentive.

We called him 'Trumble' - a play on mum's name, and also because it means 'strong and bold'. He's a petite 65g in weight, but we have high hopes that he'll make it through. He is a gorgeous rich gold agouti, gold and white purebred sheltie boar. He will be a stunning little man, and if he can make it through the next few days - we should be able to breathe a little easier.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


We've decided to add a new casual information page to our blog called 'Frequently Asked Questions'. We get a LOT of emails from you guys, from all over the world. A lot of you don't realise that we're based in Australia as well (and no - we don't export our pigs overseas - sorry!).

So, to try and give you guys a port of call for answering some of your questions, we thought we'd set up this page. I know when ever I have a question about something in my day to day life, the first thing I do is 'Google' it. And 9 times out of 10 someone else out there has asked the exact same question... so I'm kind of hoping this page will be a bit like that.

If you have a question we haven't covered on the blog, feel free to email us at

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Our first bubs for 2013 - we're off to a great start!

Evangeline and Tao have welcomed three beautiful big boys into the world today. Two sheba-looking boys, and one curly-sheba boy. All boys are looking great - big and strong and already running around and keeping mum busy.