Earlier this year, the Ontario SPCA SD&G Branch had a cute little pig available for adoption! The pot-belly pig, now named “Ophelia,” was found abandoned in a barn without food or water, along with some other farm animals.
A kind resident of Cornwall, Ontario, named Natalie and her family kindly took Ophelia and five chickens that were also rescued at the same time under their wings and adopted them.
Natalie had this update to give on Ophelia and the little piglets she gave birth to:
Ophelia is a lovely girl with a gentle, friendly personality. We built her a spacious pen and thought maybe we’d adopt a friend for her in the future. What we didn’t know was that we would soon have a whole FAMILY of piglets!
In April, we went on vacation for two weeks. When we returned, we were surprised to find our formerly petite pig was bearing more than a passing resemblance to a porcine watermelon, complete with balloon-like udder. It didn’t take us long to realize she was hugely pregnant. She’d kept it secret from all of us until the last minute! I consulted with a farmer friend who used to raise pigs and he gave me advice for setting up the pen for the imminent birth. Our pig veterinarian was on speed-dial in case there were any problems.
On Easter Sunday, as we were about to leave for supper at my mother-in-law’s house, I checked on Ophelia. She was lying on her side, grunting softly, and next to her was the tiniest pink piglet you can imagine. Ophelia was giving birth! With apologies to his mom, I sent my husband along to dinner without me, and stayed with Ophelia as she delivered six more piglets over the course of the next two hours.
The last piglet was not breathing when he arrived. Remembering all the James Herriot books I’d read, I gently massaged and patted him until he coughed back to life. Unfortunately, despite veterinary treatment, we lost our little runt Wilbur to pneumonia a few weeks later. But the other six piglets (one boy and five girls) never looked back.
Ophelia has been an excellent mother and her babies are all chubby, healthy and full of energy.
We have found a great home for the piglet named Button, who will be going to live with another piggy named Velvet. But Cordelia, Olivia, Dahlia, Gertrude Swine (aka Gertie) and Luther will all be remaining here with their mama. We now have our own pig herd!
This summer we are fencing in a grassy pasture for them and building a new pig house in our granary so that they will no longer have to share outdoor space with our ducks, chickens, turkeys and guinea fowl.
We’ve completely fallen in love with pigs. They are such intelligent, charming, curious creatures.They enjoy each other’s companionship but they also like humans, and come to us for brushing, back scratches and belly rubs, not to mention food and treats.
Luther has been neutered; there are more than enough pot-bellied pigs out there desperate to be adopted into loving homes. And Ophelia’s next big adventure will be a hoof-trimming by the vet.
A pot-bellied pig is not the pet for everyone; they can live for many years and need special care, including heating in winter if they aren’t house pets. We are fortunate enough to live on an 86-acre farm with lots of space for our gang and the means to care for them properly. In return, they make us smile every day. And there’s nothing cuter than a contented piglet snoozing in your lap while you give her a belly rub!
We’re so glad Ophelia and her piglets are doing so well! Aren’t they the cutest?!
Thank you Natalie for taking such good care of them and sharing their touching story!