Posts Tagged ‘mud’

Remember when …

… the sun was shining and the grass was green?

No, me neither.

Unbelievably, this was taken just three weeks ago:

The five adults and Snipe - 27 November 2009

The five adults and Snipe - 27 November 2009

All that green is now a sea of mud into which the pigs sink. On a dryish day it tickles their knees. When it’s raining, it laps at their bellies.

Apparently, we’re having a dry spell for the weekend. Here’s hoping…

Trying to think good things about the rain

Over the past week, I’ve been spoiled rotten with the good weather. So much so, that I didn’t even look at replacements for my leaking (as in massive rip in the sole) wellies when I was in the my local animal feed store yesterday.

Today is not going to be a nice day. It rained overnight. It’ll rain for most of the morning.

This is good for the newly planted veggies.

This is good for the newly sown grass seed in the field.

This is good for me as I won’t have to carry endless buckets of water across the field for the pigs. They all get a scrubbed water bowl and a fresh bucket once a day as a matter of routine but on hot days, they knock the bucket over to make a mud wallow, and I obviously need to make another trip to refill it. Sometimes, this happens two or three times. It never puts me in a good mood so the other morning, I decided to pre-empt them and changed everyone’s water in the morning, carefully tipping it over to get the ground nice and muddy.

Now, I always change Tia’s water in the afternoon as whenever I change it in the morning, she knocks it over within an hour. If I don’t touch the water, neither does she. I don’t know why.

But I decided to take the risk on the grounds that she might be tricked by the newly softened ground.

Nope. Pigs are far more intelligent than humans.

One empty water bucket! 23 April 2009

Tia didn't even wait for me to leave the enclosure before she knocked over her water!

Tia makes her wallow - 23 April 2009

Tia makes her wallow, commenting that two buckets of water makes things much easier than with one. Hmph!

Tia in her wallow - 23 April 2009

Tia settles down in her wallow

Bailey wants a belly rub - 23 April 2009

Bailey looked longingly at Tia in the mud but obviously heard me telling her off, so decided to be cute instead!

Muddy Tia! 23 April 2009

Muddy Tia! 23 April 2009

Muddy Tia wants a belly rub - 23 April 2009

And then the cheeky so-and-so lay down for a belly rub!

See, there’s always a silver lining!

As happy as two pigs in a wallow

When the sun’s shining bright in the sky, all warm blooded creatures look for ways to cool down. Many animals (and humans!) sweat, but pigs are unable to use this as a cooling function, which is one of the reasons they like wallowing in the mud. The cool mud lowers their temperature, and protects their skin from sunburn and insect bites.

If you don’t provide your outdoor pigs with a wallow, they’ll make their own, knocking over their water bucket to turn the dry earth into mud.

As the weather gets warmer, I’ll move the pigs into the middle of the field, which is spongy in summer (perfect for wallowing) but knee-deep in mud in the winter.

However, I was caught out earlier this week when it was hotter than I expected. Perky and Fergie knocked over two buckets of water and … well, see for yourselves:

Fergie and Perky - 2 April 2009

Fergie and Perky get the mud nice and squishy

Perky and Fergie - 2 April 2009

Perky enjoys the fruits of her labour

Fergie - 2 April 2009

Fergie arranges the mud to her liking

Fergie - 2 April 2009

Fergie was lying in the mud a spilt second before I took this photo, but I think it was a bit colder than she expected as she lay down and promtly stood up again, before wandering off with a confused look on her face!