By Samantha Kujawa, Animal Science teacher at Chicago H.S for Agricultural Sciences
Every year a pregnant sow is donated to the school by Gould Farm. We take a drive to Maple Park, Ill. with a couple of students to pick her up and transport her back to the school where she will live and farrow (have her piglets).
My senior animal science class gets to name the sow. This year they chose Petunia! Petunia’s due date was set for February 9th. So several days before her due date, during farrowing, and several days after farrowing, there are students on pig watch. We have a camera set up for the animal science students to take shifts watching Petunia around the clock until she farrows and has her piglets.
There were a couple of students on call for when Petunia started farrowing. They came to help me assist Petunia during the labor in case there were any difficulties. Once she had her piglets on February 10th in the evening, students signed up for shifts before and after school to keep watch and help assist the piglets during nursing.
We have 13 live piglets here at the school that are only a few days old. The students will name the piglets, administer shots, clip needle teeth, ID them, along with many other things. Most importantly, they are learning how to care for them until they are about 6 months old. That’s when they leave us and head to another farm to continue their growing process.