All change!

Yesterday turned out to be a mammoth pig moving day, which just goes to show how much I have changed. Gone are the days when I couldn’t move one ark by myself … yesterday, I moved two!

Pinky, Curly and the piglets had run out of grass. It might have looked as though they still had grass, since the enclosure had a green floor, but I know that all the good stuff had gone because they did this:

Pinky, Curly and the piglets - 4 October 2009

Pinky, Curly and the piglets - 4 October 2009

However, there was one small hitch. The part of the field where I wanted to move them to was slap bang next door to where Tia, Brini, Perky, Scrumpy and Fergie were getting down and dirty in the mud (ie clearing the undergrowth) which meant that in order to move The Family, I needed to move the Quintuplets first! Why? There’s not an electric fence in the world that would keep a boar away from five females if they were so close! And considering that Scrumpy is Curly’s mother…

Thankfully, it didn’t take long for them to establish a hierarchy after I put them together for the first time on Thursday, once I’d got back from taking Bailey. Amazingly, Tia is the new matriarch! That’s quite something for a pig who, 18 months ago, I bought only because I felt sorry for her. It just goes to show that a leader lurks in all wallflowers… Anyway, the remarkably swift establishment of said hierarchy means that they are sharing one ark at night instead of using both, which actually made the move possible, since there was no way I was three pig arks in one day!

So, with much grumbling under my breath (the five pigs had at least another week’s grazing were they were, possibly more), I transported all their bedding to the new site, dragged their ark across the field, went back for the rubber mats that make up their floor, rolled up, moved and erected three 50m rolls of electric netting, then moved the five, who knew where they were going and only waited for me because I had some pears in a bucket!

Tia, Brini, Scrumpy, Fergie and Perky - 4 October 2009

Tia, Brini, Scrumpy, Fergie and Perky - 4 October 2009

After dragging myself back to the house for a most tasty lunch of boiled eggs on toast (thanks, girls!), I set about moving the piglets.

In theory, this move wasn’t as physically demanding, since the distance was (a) shorter and (b) on a slight downhill slope but mentally, it was exhausting. Have you ever tried to explain to six squealing and hyperactive piglets that they have moved house?!

Once everything was moved, I finally managed to catch all six and plopped them in the ark, persuading Pinky to go in to feed them to help them relax. This tactic vaguely worked, in that instead of rushing around the enclosure, panicking, they instead ran around after her as she rushed around sampling all the different grasses!

Eventually, once the sun had gone down, I saw the piglets take themselves off to bed in the ark’s new location, rather than the old location, which is where they had, naturally, been trying to get to all afternoon, blocked by the electric fence, which I switched on.

All in all, it was quite a day!

Here’s another piglet photo (sorry, can’t resist!)

Piglets! 4 October 2009

Piglets! 4 October 2009

I can’t believe how much they have grown in the past two weeks!

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10 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jan on 5 October 2009 at 9:01 am

    Sounds like you had lots of fun, even if it was hard work!

  2. It does sound like a full days work. A lovely feeling though when everyone is in their place…for a week or so at least !

    The piglets continue to be absolutely adorable and the photos are doing nothing to help me think sensibly 🙂

  3. They are very photogenic. And your muscles are definitely growing! Mine have faded away since the couple of times I helped out a bit last year, and so I think I’d be on the floor after carrying just one of those horrible rubber floor mats!

  4. Posted by Granny Anne on 5 October 2009 at 5:05 pm

    Thank you for all these super photos. I hope you don’t turn me into a vegetarian, I love my “bacon butties” 🙂

  5. After all that exercise I’m betting you slept well.

    Goodness, they certainly are growing fast!

  6. Jan, I’m not sure that “fun” is necessarily the word I’d use! Especially not the part where I was attempting to catch the piglets 🙂

    Sandra, yup, it’s certainly satisfying when you see the look on the pigs’ faces when they tuck into all that fresh grass, not forgetting the contented grunting noises they make when they’re happy.

    As for the piglets, hang on for a few weeks until they go past the adorable and cute stage and turn into little monsters…. That goes for you, too, Granny Anne!!

    Jennie, just remember that every rubber mat you move = a calorie-free bar of chocolate 😀

    DM, I slept like a log, how did you guess?! 🙂

  7. Posted by greenrosie on 5 October 2009 at 9:14 pm

    Whilst ours have almost no grass at the moment (they get a bucketful of mown grass every day along with windfall apples and gleaned corn on the cobs), they have had a ball today digging in the first wet soil we have had for weeks.

    Rosie x

  8. Kune Kunes are naturally grazers so only root (well, turf!) when they start running out of grass, though sows with litters do turf up some grass so their piglets can eat the earth. On the one hand, this is great as it means the field looks like a field and not a muddy mess but it does mean moving them regularly in spring, summer and autumn. I give up in winter and wait until they start sinking before moving them!

    Being fussy gits, the only time mine will eat cut grass is in winter … when there’s no grass to cut! I tried them with hay last winter when temperatures dropped to below freezing and barely raised above zero during the night but the young pigs played with it and the adults thought I was very kind to provide them with outside bedding so they didn’t have to lie down on the cold ground… I gave the rest of the bale to my mother for her ponies!

  9. Mine love cut grass and were furious today that it didn’t arrive ’til late thanks to intermittent rain. However they DO NOT like ….. cabbage, tomatilloes, turnips, roamanesco, bean or pea pods. Fussy pigs!!

    Rosie x (at eco-gites or greenrosie depending if I am logged into WordPress or not. Confusing things these computers!)

  10. What mine do and don’t like veggie-wise warrants a post on its own … they all have their individual likes and dislikes!

    And yes, computers are designed to simultaneously confuse and smooth the way 🙂

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