Day in the life of a farmer – Farrowing on the Scheer Family Farm
November 27, 2018
The Scheer family farm has undergone some pretty big changes in the last several months. This year we have built two brand new steel buildings. One is for breeding and contains several pens for groups of sows, a boar pen, and an office area. That’s right, an office. I guess dad is a little more hip than I thought. The other building is for farrowing and is complete except for the pens, which we will be constructing ourselves. These new buildings will not only give us more space but also allow for more temperature control during extreme hot and cold periods. Which, in Iowa, seems to be most of the year.
Now that you’re all up to date, let’s get down to the meat of this post. My father and I shared an experience last week that was new to both of us. It was one that reminded us that not all days on the farm are rainbows and butterflies.
I got home early on Friday morning and as soon as I saw my dad I could tell he hadn’t slept the night before. We had recently brought a group of gilts into the hoop building that were getting close to farrowing, and one of them had some serious complications and was unable to push the piglets out herself. My dad tried pulling the pigs out but it was no use. Her pelvis was shaped in such a way that the pigs couldn’t be removed safely. Dad stayed up with her all night until I arrived the next morning. We decided to call the vet to see if there was anything they could do to help. After the vet tried to pull the pigs for an hour with no success, we decided a c-section was the best option. The planned procedure was to quickly and humanely deliver the pigs as soon as possible. As you can imagine, our adrenaline is pumping at this point, knowing we only have a few minutes to get all the pigs out safely. We worked quickly, taking the newborns from their mother and cleaning out their mouths so they could breathe. We administered CPR to get their blood and oxygen flowing as well. To watch these piglets come to life in my hands was a truly unique experience.
Although the birth didn’t go the way we had planned, we can be thankful that we saved all the piglets. Sometimes we encounter misfortunes, but we did everything we could and were able to see the good in this at the end of the day. A farmer’s job isn’t easy and it’s events like this that make you realize it takes a pretty special person to do the job.
Thank you to all the hardworking farmers out there and to our customers for all of your support.