Saturday, November 29, 2008

Charlotte's Web

Pae's mom has a little "pig farm" in Ubon that we have visited a few times but not really gone inside to get the full tour. The idea of the farm is to impregnate female pigs, take care of them during their 4 month gestation period, then help take care of their piglets for a few weeks before they are sold to a pig company.

So, this past weekend, after Yok's wedding, we actually went inside to see the new piglets. I'd say there were about 40-50 sows and probably 3/4 of them had already given birth. Litters I'd estimate between 9-12 piglets each for each mother pig.

One sow had actually just popped one out as we were touring the facility. The piglet took a left turn instead of a right and had to go all the way around the back, head and then 11 other older brothers and sisters (by mere minutes) to find an open teet.

Without going into a short-story description of the pig farm, I'll cut to one of the coolest things I saw while walking around.

Each stall that held a mother pig and her piglets was quite small and probably not what an animal activist would approve of. The smell of birth filled the air. The coolest, coolest thing was that there were spider webs all over the place. I'm assuming because there are so many insects like flies and others that would be attracted by the poop, mud and fresh after-birth. Most of the spiders had large, thick-fibered, beautifully fashioned webs in the corners of the pig pens. As I sat taking pictures (trying to take pictures) of the spiders and their webs, visions of Charlotte's lovingly woven "Some Pig" giggled through my head!

This picture shows, in the foreground, one spider and "her" web. The one below is one of the cute piglets that was curious and liked to watch me taking pictures. Cute, no?

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