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.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The end of one era and the start of another...

We had some severe storms come through Brisbane a few weeks ago. The main one was an 'ex-cyclone' that produced the most intense winds we've seen in quite a while. It rained for 4 days solidly, many places flooded, pretty much every shade-sail in the city was ripped to shreds, and there are still piles of fallen trees and branches sitting on the curb in front of nearly every house around here - waiting for council collection.

The mansion cage usually holds up really well in rainy, stormy weather. But this time we needed to do an emergency evacuation after the rain became horizontal-rain and soaked everything! We watched as the wind tore around the cage and I wondered if it would hold up. It did - but the experience was enough for me. After 2years of faithful service, we decided it was time to 'retire' the mansion cage, and reclaim the space for a vegetable patch.

This was the demise of the mansion cage! It certainly took a lot less time to pull down then it did to put up! lol 

(the area cleared, and re-filled with soil and seeds!) 

BUT - with our girl's accommodation removed, we needed somewhere else for them to live. Somewhere with enough space, but safely under cover. We decided to design another tower cage for the back patio, to sit beside our current one. This was the crappy little sketch I sent to our local cage maker (Peter from 'Funky Cavy Stud' also here in Brisbane). He was so amazing, and even took our last minute request to make it 3-stories on board....

... and this is the end result! 2m long for lots of running! 

We moved the girls in - 4 per level. And they seem really cozy. We've since added hidey houses and water bottles (kind of important) - and I couldn't be happier. It's so much nicer having all the pigs together - and knowing that they're a lot more protected from the elements.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Chloe and Marquise's baby girl

This handsome man is 'Marquise'. He is the son of one of our first rex x texel bubs born in 2011. He ended up with the full, gorgeous texel coat. He was born at another local caviary - 'Ohana Cavy Stud' in Deception Bay here in Brisbane. It was decided about 6 months ago that I would drop off our gorgeous pet texel 'Chloe' (also born here in 2011) to Ohana to see if she and Marquise would get friendly...

... it took a LONG time (Chloe is quite bossy and Marquise is quite laid back) - but eventually Chloe was confirmed pregnant, and this little cutie is the resulting bub.

Chloe actually delivered two babies, but the first born (a sweet lilac and white boar) was born dead after a bit of a struggle for Chloe to deliver him. Amarina was born second, and mum needed a bit of assistance with her as well. We're not sure if she missed out on a bit of oxygen when being delivered, or if she was positioned oddly in utero, but it took a good 4-5 days for Amarina to learn to walk properly. She is doing a lot better now though.

These are the most recent pictures of Amarina at 2 weeks old. Due to her less then ideal start to life she's STILL not back to her birth weight of 100g, but is strong and independent and I actually think she'll be ok.