Bad Tia! Bad Scrumpy!

Last weekend, I took advantage of the sunny weather on Saturday, Sunday and Monday and moved all three pig enclosures, the arks, the bedding and the pigs themselves onto fresh ground. It’s a mammoth task and one that really needs some good weather to stop it being quite so miserable (and to prevent the bedding from getting wet in transit!) so I couldn’t believe my good luck!

I moved Bailey and Brini on Saturday, the weaners (as they are since being weaned almost a month ago!) on Sunday and Tia and Scrumpy on Monday and wasn’t expecting to have to move anyone for another week or so, not counting slight adjustments to their enclosures to let them have some fresh grazing / ground to dig up.

However, I had a bit of a shock yesterday morning when I took a new bale of straw down to the pig arks, to split between the three. There were the weaners, some happily snuffling around in their pen, the more observant staring at something beyond their netting. There were Bailey and Brini, also staring at something just out of their reach. And there were Tia and Scrumpy, munching on the grass by the weaners’ enclosure! They were meant to be on the other side of the field!

Infuriatingly, neither pig would follow me back to their own enclosure, not even for a bowl of pig nuts and bread. They were more interested in (a) the grass and (b) Bailey. Having been weaned three and a bit weeks ago, their bodies are telling them that it’s time to get back in pig and that there’s a boar around who could help them out with that…

It took me about 40 minutes to get them away from Bailey and down towards their own ark and I thought I was home dry when they suddenly realised that they were going back to the brambles and undergrowth I’ve put them on to clear. Nope, none of that for my girls! They’ve done their bit for grass production and want their reward. And if that can’t be a good old romp in the straw with the man about the farm, then they’re having some decent grazing and if I think I can change their minds, I’ve got another thought coming. Pigs, in turns out, don’t always think with their bellies. Well, they do, they just use their brains first!

They chose a new spot, near where I keep the pig food and so I dumped their bread on the ground, scattered so they’d keep themselves busy looking for it all and sprinted across the field to get the electric netting, sprinted back and more or less collapsed by my naughty sows in a state of near exhaustion. (You try sprinting through deep mud in wellies and waterproof trousers!) I quickly put up the fence around them, hoping they’d be too busy with the grass to notice the way it drooped along the ground in several places, and put in a cry for help to Jennie. She agreed to come to my rescue after lunch, which is precisely why I needed the help. Being lunch time, I didn’t have the time to shift the ark and do the necessary clearance to their new patch in order to switch on the electric fence before dark. Ordinarily, from start to finish, it takes me most of a day to move the pigs to a brand new patch (allowing time for things like going to the loo, having lunch, doing the chickens, etc) and here I was, starting the process late in the morning instead of first thing, not having done any preparation in advance!

I spent a good hour chopping brambles and gorse and other nasties in order to set the fence up properly, and had just shifted their bedding in a (now very ripped) tarpaulin, ready for when we moved the ark, when Jennie and her husband, NDT (Not David Tennant), who she calls GG (Gadget Guy), arrived, sans children who had elected to stay at Mamgu’s house in the warm. They’ll learn!

Thanks to their help, we got everything moved and set up just as the light was beginning to fade and having fed the two naughty pigs, we were just feeding Bailey, Brini and the weaners when, out of the gloom, a shape appeared. “Erm, is that pig meant to be there?”, asked NDT as Tia (for it was she) eagerly approached Bailey, hoping, no doubt, for a quickie before bedtime. She was as unimpressed to find us there* as we were to see her but darkness was obviously numbing her urges as she eventually agreed to follow me (with Jennie bringing up the rear just in case) and a bowl of nuts back to Scrumpy.

Of course, being a numpty, I had forgotten to switch the electric netting on, but once she was safely reinstalled, the fence when on and thankfully was still on, containing both sows, when I arrived this morning.

Pigs! Who’d have ’em?

* as testament to a pig’s intelligence, let it be noted that the time she arrived was about ten minutes after the latest time at which I can leave the farm without being late for work! This could be coincidence but who knows?!


One response to this post.

  1. […] Do you remember the post I wrote three weeks ago, bemoaning the two girls and their hormones? […]

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