Posts Tagged ‘curly’

Farewell to the pigs

Yesterday was not a Good Day.

I took two loads of pigs to the abattoir, Curly, Pinky and Perky in the first load, then Tia and Scrumpy.

I pick the meat up on Friday.

Brini and Fergie were saved, because Fergie is too small and Brini makes an ideal companion for her as she is (a) kind to the little pig and (b) is not a natural-born trouble-maker. They are now living in luxury in east Somerset.

I cried when I got home.

Not a Good Day.

The end of the world as I know it…

Just a brief post to say that B and I parted company over the weekend. Yes, the timing sucks. No, I haven’t got a clue what comes next. As we slip from one decade to the next, I shall be single, homeless and jobless. Ok, so it’s not as dramatic as it sounds, but in the wee hours it sure feels like that! It’s an opportunity, or so I’m told, to do anything, to go anywhere. Here’s hoping, right?!

Thankfully I am surrounded by wonderful friends to whom I owe bucketfuls of thanks.

Here’s the most recent photo of the piglets, to end on a good note:

Pinky, Curly and the piglets - 13 December 2009

Pinky, Curly and the piglets - 13 December 2009

Straw thieves!

Having bought some new straw on Sunday, I cleaned out the piglets’ ark, a necessary task every few days as they’re still being toilet trained. Although they tend to go to the loo outside, they do go inside as well, presumably at night – especially with all this rain bucketing it down!

So, having cleaned out the wet straw, I gave them about three-quarters of a bale, and left them to it, playing in the suddenly much bigger bed, eating the heads of barley, throwing it about and generally enjoying themselves (their fun was abruptly halted when Pinky and Curly saw what was going on and booted the piglets out so that they could play!).

I then took a second bale down to the sows and gilts, nearly slipping in the mud en route but thankfully managing to stay upright! I only intended to give them about half of the bale, topping it up again later in the week but, being pigs, they had other ideas. I put the bale in the ark, pulled the old straw to the front, which is where the rain comes in, cut the string, carefully removed half, and put the half I wanted to keep in the corner, and set about shaking the sections up. That done, I turned round …. and saw that Perky and Scrumpy had taken matter into their own trotters and had done the same to the other half! I thought they were enjoying the straw that I was shaking about the ark but no, they were making sure they got the whole bale, not half.

So they got the whole bale, though I did tell them that this means they won’t be getting a top up for at least a week.

I don’t think they cared…

Perky in the pig ark - 15 November 2009

Perky in the pig ark - 15 November 2009

The pigs continue to play happy families!

If I’m honest, I’ll admit that young Master Curly is a pain in the backside and I spend half my time wishing I’d sent him off before Bailey, instead of waiting for the freezer to empty so I can fit him in.

However, I spend the rest of my time marvelling at how gentle he is with his piglets:

Curly and his piglets - 23 October 2009

Curly and his piglets - 23 October 2009

Pinky is, of course, as doting as any sow:

Pinky and her piglets - 23 October 2009

Pinky and her piglets - 23 October 2009

If you look closely at the photo, you’ll see that she even dropped down in a large pile of pig poo to feed the piglets when they started telling her that they were hungry!

Good times 🙂

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!

More piglet Ooohs and Aaahs!

Patch - 29 September 2009

Patch - 29 September 2009

That’s Patch. He’s the smallest of the litter and is currently being bottle-fed on top of what he gets from Pinky. And yes, the others do have names as well, but I’m still struggling to tell them all apart, let alone get them to stay still long enough for me to take a photo!

Piglets at the milk bar - 30 September 2009

Piglets at the milk bar - 30 September 2009

You know you want to steal one, really!

Curly, Pinky and their piglets - 1 October 2009

Curly, Pinky and their piglets - 1 October 2009

Amazingly, considering it was the first of October, it was so hot on Thursday that the pigs declared the Grand Re-Opening of Wallow Season and I spent much of the afternoon carrying buckets of water across the field to refill empty water bowls.

Pinky wouldn’t let Curly share her wallow … he had to wait til she’d finished!

Piglets on the move - 2 October 2009

Piglets on the move - 2 October 2009

I swear that this lot are far more adventurous than my previous litters … this morning they were all for heading off down the drive, and this afternoon their courage (thankfully!) failed them just as they were about to pop through the electric fence making up the sows’ enclosure! Little monsters… On Sunday, I’ll be switching their electric fence on in the hopes of encouraging them to stay put!

Stay-at-home Dad!

Mum (Pinky) went outside to do her thing:

Pinky - 22 September 2009

Pinky - 22 September 2009

Dad (Curly) was left in charge:

Curly and the piglets - 22 September 2009

Curly and the piglets - 22 September 2009

Luckily, he’s great with the piglets:

Now, if I can just arrange that Lottery win so I can stay and play with them all day…