Oh, Bailey!

Things are not looking good for Bailey. He’s been with Tia since the beginning of February but although he has dutifully covered her every time she’s come on heat, something obviously isn’t working as she’s come back into heat right on schedule, every three weeks.

This is not good news for Bailey.

I know he’s getting on and accepted that this would probably be his last year, but it looks as though last year was his last year and this year is just expensive for me.

Bailey - 18 April 2009

Bailey - 18 April 2009

You see, the problem is that I’m currently feeding three sows and a boar with no return. And the longer the sows go without having a litter, the harder it will be to get them in pig again.

So I’ve had to make a very difficult decision, one that I should have made a couple of months ago but couldn’t bring myself to.

Bailey, my lovely, friendly, gentle giant of a boar, has to go. And there are limited options for an infertile boar, even one as docile and sweet as him.

I’ve been offered a fairly decent amount if I sell him to someone who will cull him and, sadly, this is probably the most likely course of action.

I then need to decide what to do next.

I could get a replacement boar but I’ve made a few other decisions as well.

I’m going to sell Brini and Scrumpy, and just keep Tia and her daughters, Perky and Fergie. Fergles is, obviously, just a pet, but Perky has her mother’s temperament plus much much more. Combined with her impressively long back and overall size, I think she’ll make an excellent breeding sow and would suit me much better than Scrumpy. I never thought I’d say that as Scrumpy is wonderful but I guess that’s the way it goes.

There’s someone who is interested in the pair but I’ll advertise them if they don’t want them. Of course, there’s always a chance that I won’t be able to sell Brini as I’ve never had a litter from her, in which case she’ll accompany Bailey on his Final Journey. Kind of romantic: they adore one another so it would suit. You never know, I might find someone who’ll take the pair and Bailey…!

Scrumpy and Brini - 8 March 2009

Scrumpy and Brini - 8 March 2009

If I want a litter of piglets weaned before winter sets in, I need to get Tia in pig when she next comes into season in a couple of weeks, so finding a boar to lease or a “stud” that will take her ASAP is my first challenge.

Next year, I’ll lease a boar for a couple of months in February and March, putting him with Tia first and then Perky. If Tia has an autumn litter, it’ll be hard work for her and she’ll need lots of TLC but from then on, it will be one litter a year for them both.

Having made this decision, I feel horribly guilty whenever I look at Bailey, Brini and Scrumpy, but what else can I do? There were a number of other options I considered, but this plan ticks every box so it must be the right choice.

Unless I win the Lottery! Piggies, cross your trotters!

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5 responses to this post.

  1. Bless you – I know that this is a difficult decision for you to make. I’m sure it will turn out for the best. And I suppose this is all part of the life we want to lead, unless of course one has the money to retire animals to a separate paddock to live their lives out to their natural conclusion!

  2. Ugh, the sad realities of farm-life eh. I’m suddenly looking at my chickens much more guiltily since having made the decision to start a breeding program. Now I have to look at them differently and think about culling and all those things you’re going through with the piggies. It’s difficult to be sure and I don’t envy you the decisions. I feel like that about Malcolm and Gordon (my two sweet but useless wethers).

  3. I’m feeling better about Bailey. He’s had a nice long life as a stud boar, met lots of lovely ladies, made lots of babies, and charmed countless people with his giant belly that’s begging to be rubbed and the way he sits with his mouth wide open, in the hopes that you’ll fill it with yummy treats. I wish I could give him a retirement but I can’t and there’s nothing more I can do.

    It’s Scrumpy and Brini I’m feeling bad about as they’ve done nothing wrong! Scrumpy more so than Brini, as it’s quite likely that Brini won’t have another litter, but Scrumpy’s still young and sweet and friendly and is only for sale because I prefer Perky! How crap is that?!

    But two breeding sows needs to be my limit, and I can only keep one pet.

    Argh! Never mind, it’s Wednesday. I’ve bought my lottery ticket. Tomorrow, I might be blogging something very different!

  4. I hope you win the lottery! It must be tough, loving these animals yet still needing to take care or your well-being and letting them go. Talk to them… perhaps they’ll give you some innovative ideas 🙂

  5. Hi Diane, thanks for stopping by 🙂

    I tried talking to Bailey but he just rolled over for a belly rub, shutting his eyes in anticipation of the heavenly bliss awaiting him.

    Big old softie

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