The first milk is very important, providing colostrum that basically fires up an animal’s immune system, so the pig farmer got down on the floor and tried to encourage her to take some milk. That involved squeezing a little milk out of one of Molly’s teats and aiming the piglet in the general direction.
It was only a limited success and, after the best part of half-an-hour, the second piglet, which Molly had been straining to push out, appeared. Unfortunately it was stillborn, but there was no time to fret as the others followed in quick succession.
Faced with competition, No. 1 got her act together and started to suckle. More than that, she started shoving her siblings – all a fair bit bigger – out of the way in a bid for the prime spot.
By and large the big piglets get the best teats nearest the sow’s head while the peedie boys and girls are left with the back teats which, apparently, have less milk. Nobody had bothered to tell No. 1 this and she quickly shoved her way through to the front teat.
She has spent most of the last three or four days firmly attached, her eight brothers (yes, only one gilt in a litter of nine!) having the pick of the remaining 13 milk outlets.
A real chip off the old (escaping, fence-breaking, boar-bashing, concrete wall-demolishing) block.