NEW LEXINGTON — In her first post in the Perry County Tribune, Nevaeh Ogle reported that the two pigs at the FFA barn were bred to farrow. For city dwellers, that means the mama pigs were about to give birth to piglets. Immediately following Nevaeh’s report, 10 little pigs became the newest residents at the FFA barn.
Under the watchful care of Ag teachers Heather Foster and Adam Finck, the piglets are doing fine. Finck says they will remain in the barn until mid-April.
“They’re still vulnerable to drastic weather changes, but things should be stable by mid-to late April,” says Finck.
While their mother requires a mid-60’s air temperature in the barn, the piglets require the temp to be near 100 degrees. To accommodate the entire family, a heated mat that is nearly four feet long and a foot wide provides the warmth needed by the piglets.
Superintendent of the New Lexington School District, Casey Coffey, could not be more excited about the learning process taking place at the FFA barn. Teachers have been able to conduct classes via Zoom connections from the barn
“This is a great learning experience for our students, especially non-traditional farm kids,” proclaims Coffey. The involvement does not stop at the steps of New Lexington schools says Coffey. Local citizens and businesses have contributed materials and donations for the FFA projects at the barn.
“Tom Russell of Tom’s Plumbing and Dave Horn at Dave’s Feed & Seed have been fantastic for us,” Coffey said.
The goal of the program is to “teach production farming,” according to Finck. In a normal school year, students would earn points through classroom efforts to determine who would receive one of the piglets for the next county fair. COVID-19 difficulties have made that kind of evaluation nearly impossible, according to Foster.
Right now the focus is on the health of the mother and piglets who will be weaned in 3-4 weeks. The mother is doing well, having already regained enough strength to stand and eat. The birthing process, called "pigging” took five hours to finish.
“She started having them at 4:30 p.m. and the last piglet came out at 9:32 p.m.” Foster recounted.
While the piglets weighed a mere three to four pounds two days after arriving, they will weigh 250 pounds by mid-July, said Finck.
“Having a litter at this time of year can be difficult, but the timing is perfect for our county fair,” said Finck.
More news about these piglets and the next litter about to arrive will be covered in the days ahead by our student reporter