Piglets, please!

As regular readers of BmS are well aware, my attempts thus far to get at least one of the sows in pig have been with gales of laughter but absolutely no success.

If you don’t know what I’m on about, see here and here.

First, before I tell you what’s been going on this time, it has been pointed out to me that the pigs’ names and locations and pen-partners leave everyone but me struggling to keep up, so here’s the backstory:

The players:

In one pen, we have:-

  • Bailey, the boar
  • Brini, the gilt who won’t get knocked up despite being with Bailey since July

In the second, there is:-

  • Scrumpy, a sow who had piglets in September (not Bailey’s)
  • Tia, another sow who had piglets in August (again, not Bailey’s)

At the start of the week, Tia and Scrumpy were showing every sign of coming back into season and I was wondering how on earth I could arrange things to get one of them in pig without going repeating the events of last time.

And then it happened. I had a bit of a brain wave.

Rather than swapping everyone around, why not make a love shack and put Scrumpy or Tia in there with Bailey, let them do the deed and put Himself and Herself back in their original enclosure with their original pen-mate? If nothing happens with one girl, put the second in. If nothing happens, try again the following day! Repeat until successful!

So on Wednesday, I carefully rearranged Bailey and Brini’s electric netting to make two temporary pens: one for Brini and one for Bailey and his new flame.

I wanted Scrumpy to have the first go so used some bread to get her to follow me over. That was the easy bit. I put her in, Bailey bit her bum, she burst out through the netting and ran screaming back to Tia.

I quickly righted the netting, ran after her and using yet more bread, got her to follow me most of the way back. And then she saw Bailey and once again turned tail and vanished.

To her relief, I didn’t make her follow me again but instead put her back and got Tia out. Despite Scrumpy’s very vocal warnings about the dangers that lay ahead, Tia happily followed me and joined Bailey in the love shack. Apart from the occasional exchange of obscenities, they ignored one another for about half an hour before Bailey showed me what he thought of the whole venture by barging through the netting and making his way back to Brini who greeted Her Man with delight.

I put him back with Brini and put Tia back with Scrumpy. Four happy pigs, one disgruntled owner.

Yesterday, I tried again. Having remade the Love Shack, I put Scrumpy in first and then got Bailey. And then switched the fence on! They both tried to get out – and failed. So they spent the next hour hating one another.

When I could no longer feel my feet thanks to the snow falling all around me, I gave in and opened the “gate” to let Scrumpy out.

However, instead of turning right to head back to Tia, she turned left and ended up outside Brini’s pen.

They sniffed noses, they grunted. Scrumpy refused to move, even for the tempting rattle of the bucket.

Hmm, what to do?

I hesitantly opened up the pen and in went Scrumpy.

They sniffed again, grunted, said lots of swears. They barged and pushed and butted. They grazed. They swore some more. They ignored one another. They started pushing again. And then out came the teeth and Scrumpy proceeded to beat the hell out of poor Brini. It didn’t take long to establish that Scrumpy was Boss Pig and after that they went to separate corners and stood puffing, glaring at one another.

I used the break to whisk Bailey over to Tia. The poor boy didn’t know what was happening – and neither did Tia when he said hello. The pushing and shoving started and ended quickly and it was soon clear that they were intent on ignoring the other for as long as possible.

So I ran back to Brini and Scrumpy, to discover the latter looking longingly over at her previous pen and pen-mate, while Brini was lying down in the mud, looking very sorry for herself.

I put the pen back the way it should be and Brini shot into the ark. I followed her in and checked her over. It was mainly surface scrapes and cuts, easily cleaned and treated. But in the scuffle, she managed to lose one of her piri-piris! Poor girl. I spent ages with her, rubbing her belly and scratching her nose, and once she had relaxed, I checked Scrumpy (who was sulking but physically fine) and then went to check on Tia and Bailey.

Every so often, Bailey would chase Tia round the pen but, for the most part, they had nothing to say to one another – though both pleaded and begged me to put things back the way they were before.

Feeling mean, I told them to blame Scrumpy.

Making sure the electric fences were well and truly switched on, I left them to it, watching from afar using the bincoluars and staying alert for any tell-tale screams that might indicate trouble.

But, thankfully, all was calm.

They were all miserable when I turned up to change the water and feed them but I hardened my heart and told them all to Grow Up and start acting like Big Pigs.

They didn’t like that!

Crossing my fingers that they would all spend the night in the right ark (or failing that, any ark!), I made my way home once it was dark and tried to avoid worrying.

This morning, I nervously checked on them and was delighted to discover that although he still tells her off, not only were Bailey and Tia standing next to one another while they were waiting for me to bring their breakfast, judging by the mud on her back, Bailey has most definitely covered Tia. And since the mud is over the rear half of her back, not the neck area, he actually managed to do it properly this time!

As for Brini and Scrumpy, they were both fast asleep in their ark, lying next to each other 🙂

Brini is still terrified of her new pen-mate and follows me about like a lost puppy, but they’re doing ok. No more biting!

So keep your fingers crossed that this time Bailey will successfully manage the Deed and that in 16 weeks, he’ll be a daddy.

The alternative is not one I want to dwell on.

But I have made a decision.

I got Bailey and Brini at the start of July.

If, one year on, there are no mini-Baileys (or signs of their imminent arrival), I will be forced to acknowledge that Bailey has run out of lead for his pencil and if I’m not in a position to keep him and Brini as pets, I’ll try to find someone who can.

If not …

6 responses to this post.

  1. I’m sitting here, merrily giggling to myself! You have a real talent for setting a scene, even though I have an advantage in that I know the ‘players’! I’m still keeping my fingers crossed for a lottery win so that we can buy that farm somewhere.

  2. Like Jennie l have just had a really good laugh and agree that you set a lovely chaotic scene. I hope it all works out for all concerned.

  3. Well I won’t have to worry about missing my walk today with all the snow outside. Once again you leave me exhausted. Let’s hope Bailey has done his job this time. Margaret

  4. Even as Scrumpy’s rather wide behind vanished into the distance on Wednesday, I knew you three would be giggling. In fact, I could almost see you typing!

  5. […] About them « Piglets, please! […]

  6. […] certain that Tia is in pig, but I don’t know if it’s from when Bailey covered her three weeks ago, or from the earlier attempt (ie disaster) three weeks before […]

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