Monday, July 10, 2017

Castrating Piglets

The first litter of piglets were 15 days old on Saturday and the males were scheduled to be castrated. Due to scheduling conflicts, my wife's papa and I were unable to get together until today. I had received word earlier that I was to meet him at the piggery at 4:30.

In the past, I've made light of this process. When my wife had mistakenly used the word "circumcision" for the more correct term, "castration", I made a joke about making the pigs Kosher by circumcising them. And today, when told to bring cotton balls when I met my wife's papa, I was thinking that soon, those would be the only balls at the piggery. However, after assisting with the castration, I'm less inclined to make jokes.

Where once my brother-in-law had been the assistant, I found myself this time seated with a piglet in my lap, holding it's legs while my wife's papa did the surgery. I can honestly say that this is the most difficult job I've ever done. It's difficult enough holding the pig while it squirms to get away, but the screams are horrendous.

At seventeen days old, the males testicles are still inside the body. When we were castrating the 2nd piglet,  we could only locate one testicle.  An article on line states that the 2nd testicle may descend to a normal position as the pig grows and the pig should be castrated later, after the testicle presents itself. Let's hope it never drops.

When the sow gave birth to these piglets, there were eight total - four male and four female. Within the first few days, two of the piglets died. One by being rolled upon by the mother, and another from what was probably anemia. I knew the first piglet to die was a spotted male, but until today, I did not know if the second piglet was male or female. Thankfully, the second was male. It's unfortunate that two of my piglets died, but I'm glad that they were male and not female. I'm not at all certain that I could have handled castrating four piglets. Two were difficult enough.

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