And pop she did, but not very decisively. Her labour lasted a long time, and while she was quite relaxed, it was clear that she needed some help. After twelve hours she'd only produced one piglet. That usually means that another piglet is stuck inside, blocking the way for the rest of the litter. You have to go in. It's what James Herriot did with cows and a long rubber glove, and it's what sheep farmers do all the time, but we'd never done it before.
Oliver did make the observation that I've got smaller hands than him, but we both knew the job was down to him. He's the Animal Husbandry department, I'm Marketing. So into Exeter he went and visited the vet, who issued him with the aforementioned long gloves - disposable plastic ones in this day and age, and a large tub of lubricant.
I've had endless admiration for my husband and his ability to utilise new skills in our farming and small acreage owning adventures. And I was reminded of that this week when I found him standing calmly behind Bunny, having delivered her of a handful more piglets. Some had sadly perished before being born, but some were alive, and thriving.
Birth is an unpredictable thing, for many species, and so it is for pigs. Who knows why Bunny struggled to birth her piglets. She got very large, and perhaps her musculature was just unable to push them out. We can't tell. But we were glad to see the miracle of life writ large before us as one of the piglets she produced tottered out of the stall into the daylight to explore, at less than one day old. This is very early, and we take it as a sign of vigour, health, curiosity - all good things to find in your in livestock.
Bunny fares well. She appears unperturbed and unaffected by her labours and by Oliver's intervention. She's not the tamest of our pigs, having been raised elsewhere and not handled regularly by us or anyone else. But she has weathered this episode and come out the other side unscathed, if not untouched. Well done Bunny.