Rescue Journal

i want to talk about this more...not to beat it death, not to wear a hairshirt of shame...not to look for others to blame

Carol  ·  Jul. 30, 2012

i want to look at this honestly and critically and learn.
firstly..i talked to the vet today..i asked her if it was wrong to let nature take its course and she pretty much said everything that i had already considered so i think my decision making in the final regard was ok.

i also asked her why threeseys front legs were immobile and flaccid against her chest and belly? why were they not positioned and moving like the other babes...was she deformed?
she said it was probably a birth paralysis from being in the birth canel too long.
oh...that made sense.

i know a couple of things all on my own.... like...for animals...birth is not a social event. the moms feel vulnerable and the babes are certainly vulnerable and birthing moms prefer to go off by themselves and take care of this difficult business of birthing all on their own.

it is humans that think it is some kind of warm and fuzzy miracle or that we may need to step in and save them all..animals think it is dangerous, difficult and harsh and nature has given them the instinct to know what to do.

i also know that gracie did in fact check out her baby because she chewed the umbilcal cord that was still attached to her uterus. the babe was out and no longer attached to the placenta, gracie took care of that cuz none of us cut that cord. so i think grace knew right away that this last baby was not as she should be.

i wll tell you what i am afraid of..that this is my fault. i saw that she had given birth and i peeked to see if the babes were ok and then i left to drain charlotte's abcess. i did not tell everyone else to stay out of there, to not go into her pen. i thought it was fine if folks quietly peeked in over the side...i thought she was done.
but now i think that she wasn't finished and she was hanging on to that last babe until she felt alone and safe. and finally she couldn't hold on anymore and had no choice but it was too late..threesey had been stuck in the birth canel for too long and now her front legs didn't work.

to me this is a logical sequence of events and i was the one responsible for the mistakes.
i should have immediately closed the door and left and kept everyone out except for basic priority care for the first couple of days until mom and babes were recovered.

this would have been respectful of gracie and the babies needs. but i and everyone else got caught up in the sweetness and cuteness and did not consider the harsh reality....animals prefer to give birth alone, undisturbed and on their own terms. our presence is not requested..we impose our need to witness the miracle of new life on the throes of someone struggling to get thru it....really not respectful or fair.

i don't know if there was more or less to the reasons why threesy couldn't survive..all i do know is...

i will never, in any shape or form, interfer in an animal's birth process again. i don't need to see the cute babies within minutes of birth..i need to give the mom space and privacy to take care of birthing her babies the best that she can.



janice what do you mean slammed into the cement is that what i think it means.


Data from 67 pig farms with a variety of farrowing systems were used to identify factors associated with preweaning mortality in British pig herds. The median mortality reported by the farmers was 10·7 per cent (interquartile range 8·5 to 14 per cent).

And they don't warehouse them like they do here...


Tracey, I was talking about pot belly pigs not big pigs.

You know the survival rate is high or we wouldn't have them at all.. when a baby is born deformed or not thrifty in a commercial pig factory they are slammed into the cement.


Janice, how do pigs in a commerical farming environment give birth? What is the survival rate? I cant imagine that that would be a low-stress environment.


lol janice...we posted at exactly the same minute, pretty much the same thing...too funny!


i am the primary caregiver, they know and trust me better than most. but birthing is stressful and stressed creatures do not view the world the same. pigs are prey animals..that is wired so deeply within them, they never forget. they are not meant to give birth with an audience.
we should have taken our clue from teddy...he was absolutely silent and motionless..he wasn't popping back and forth, peeking thru the barrier trying to see what was going on..he was trying to be invisible and not bother her. he was being respectful.


Pigs are not like cats and dogs - they are a prey speices. They will always be timid and reactive, especially to being surrounded. That will never change . Gracie although is freindly and takes treats she has not given us her trust yet. Teddy was a litle boar when he arrived and they are LOVERS and a few scritches had him down for a belly rub. But not Gracie..


I have been around enough birthing animals to know that usually there is a reason that either mom rejects, baby doesn't feed, etc.
Mother's instincts are strong and it is for the survival of all when she makes that decision.
Gracie and Teddy are not feral and they have only known positive at Saints.


how sad is that. yes mama should have been left alone. i sure as hell would not want people gawking at me while i gave birth. what lousy timeing it all turned out to be. so sorry carol and gracie.