We’re in the final countdown for the arrival of MooShu’s litter. Less than a month left now, as she grows immensely round! This litter is historic for two reasons. Forgive me if that sounds pompous, but I’ve not done much that’s history-making in my life, if ever at all… so being part of Meishan history in the making is very exciting for me! This will be the first litter of Meishans to be born in the state of South Carolina, and it’s the first litter in the entire USA to be born that combines all three research herd bloodlines, Illinois, Iowa and USDA. Many more will follow, of course, as other foundation farms are involved in this breed conservation effort… but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited that MooShu’s litter will be the first.
This litter is also bittersweet, in that we lost the litter’s sire, our then 16 week old USDA/USDA boar, General Tso, this winter. Our weather this winter was harsh for pigs. Full of extreme temperature fluctuations, respiratory issues were common in our herd, and many other breeders across our region. Unfortunately, General Tso, stressed from new arrival, quarantine, and the constancy of sows being in season, didn’t make it. We had a necropsy done to confirm his cause of death. As such, boars from this litter will be very special, as they are the last of his bloodline.
We are in the process of completing Miss Moo’s farrowing stall, and she’s biding her time in the back pastures, grazing in the cool shade most days. Anna and her piglets often join her, and she is gentle and sweet with them as can be. I think she’s going to be an incredible Mother. Despite being so large and round, she lays down most delicately, a sure sign that she’ll take care to gently ease down to the ground when moving to nurse her piglets.
We’re not sure how many she’s going to have… she’s so large that she seems fit to burst! Meishans are known for their prolific litter sizes, but these large litter sizes usually don’t occur at first parity. Perhaps Lady Moo will prove us wrong! At this point, we are just hoping for a smooth farrowing and healthy piglets and transition for this new Mom, above all else… no matter how many or few there are!
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Some moments from MooShu’s quickly growing pregnancy, and Connor, holding General Tso: