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.


  1. Oh no, this heat wave is just horrible! It's quite the opposite here in finland so it's hard to imagine what it's like there. All the best for little Trumble and all the other beautiful piggies!