had potbellied pigs since 1989 and once in a while there is just a very
special piglet. Granted each pig is unique is his or her own way, but the
exceptional pig is just so much fun. Let me tell you about one such pig, who
will remain nameless for the time being.
Kayla Claire (KC), who was kept back to be a
breeding sow because of her extraordinary lovey-doveyness, and her husband,
Albert, had a litter of piglets in April 2004. Seven little ones were born
fast and furiously, up and nursing like champs. All was well until about day
four when I noticed one of the females (Little One) wasnít gaining weight
like the others. I watcher her nurse and she was going through the motions.
She did not have a cleft pallet. KCís udder was fine and the teat that
Little One was nursing appeared to have plenty of milk.
I decided to supplement her and used a 3 cc syringe
filled with milk replacer to feed her. She didnít seem particularly fond of
this, but I maintained that she needed it and fed her religiously three
times a day. She still was not gaining like the rest, but showed no signs of
any medical problem. I guess in the peopleís world, her condition would have
been diagnosed as "failure to thrive".
One day while with mom and litter, I noticed the
enema bottle I had used on KC and thought this might make a good nursing
bottle for Little One. So I sterilized it and added the formula. Little One
latched on like this was the best and she began to put on a little weight,
but she would never catch up with her littermates. It was quite the ritual.
I had a little pink towel and the enema bottle. When Little One saw me
coming with these items, she knew it was feeding time. I would lay the towel
on a big rock in the pen and she would run up on it and madly suck her enema
bottle. It was quite cute and rather endearing. She had been getting special
attention three times a day since day four. Needless to say, she was very
A pig client, Jan, came one weekend to drop off her
little darling for boarding. On the usual farm tour, we came to the pen with
KC and her litter, featuring Little One nursing from her bottle. Jan said,
"She is so little. You should name her Mini." I replied that Mini was a very
cute name, but in my mind I felt this was just too common a name for my very
special Little One. Bottle in hand, I turned to Jan and said, "Mini means
little, but look at the enema bottle she uses to nurse. What about calling
her Anemone, a combination of the two and a lovely flower to boot?" It was
final. Anemone she would be.
I had to leave town and I felt that my husband,
Brian, would not fancy feeding this little piglet from an enema bottle. My
new task was to teach Anemone to drink from a pan. Experience told me that
this could be a difficult task, with resistance from the piglet. But Anemone
was happy to accommodate me and happily sipped milk from her special little
pottery bowl. Mission accomplished.
Anemone will let anyone pick her up and love on
her. This is very unusual for a young piglet. My favorite maneuver with her
is to rub her belly until she flops and then roll you over. I continue to
roll her over as many times as I wish. She seems to enjoy it. She also likes
her pink pig pillow and manages to make it her thrown more often than the
I just love this little girl. She is not short on
bravery or brains -- she picks fights with her littermates and gets right
into the food bowl, when pellets are provided. She is always right in front
when special treats are offered and is a quick learner. She can sit and
comes when she is called. Iíve tried to make Brian come to terms with the
fact that this pig is truly special and we need to keep her. His response is
that, "She can be very special to someone else. We have enough pigs!"
Anemone will live with her sister-pig, Bubbles,
only two hours from the farm. The girls will come to board a few times a
year when their family goes away and I can always go and visit when Iím in
the area. But, I will always remember this Little One fondly and miss her
bunches when she leaves me for her new home.
Temperament is certainly something that I breed for
and Anemone comes from a long line of wonderfully tempered pigs. As
mentioned earlier, her mom, Kayla Claire, was always right in my lap as a
piglet and her dam, Kiayla, was the very same way. Kiaylaís mother,
Munchkin, to this day is sweet as can be at thirteen years old. And we still
have Munchkinís dam, Agnes of Hog, who is fourteen years old and Anemoneís
great-great grandmother. The only one missing is Jitterbug, my first sow and
Aggieís dam, who died in January 2003. I just am so pleased that my pigs are
staying happy and healthy into their golden years.
I love my life and all the joys the pigs bring!