Posts Tagged ‘scrumpy’

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.

Advertisements

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…

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

A blustery November!

It’s a windy but sunny day today, what a change from all the rain we’ve been having. I’m seriously thinking about buying some lifejackets and arm bands for the pigs, just in case!

Mind you, the rain did hold off long enough earlier this week for me to move both the piglets and the adults onto dry, fresh and green ground, though how long it will stay like that is anyone’s guess (for what it’s worth, mine is ‘not long’).

The adults couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw where they were going and haven’t stopped grinning (or stuffing their faces) since then:

Tia, Brini, Perky, Fergie and Scrumpy - 3 November 2009

Tia, Brini, Perky, Fergie and Scrumpy - 3 November 2009

The break in the weather didn’t hold for long:

Dark clouds over the field - 4 November 2009

Dark clouds over the field - 4 November 2009

And here’s the cutest piglet photo ever:

The piglets - 5 November 2009

The piglets - 5 November 2009

But this is the funniest:

Pinky piglets - 4 November 2009

Don't ask. Just don't ask!

If they’re like this at 6 weeks, what will they be doing at 6 months?!!

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!

Fun in the sun!

Yesterday was one of those days that flew by, the kind that you wish you could preserve, re-visit, or hold in time forever.

Ok, so it wasn’t the best start, as the runt of Pinky’s litter died in the night, but I knew that was coming and given how weak he was, despite my best efforts to bottle feed him, his death was more of a relief than anything else as it meant an end to his suffering.

It’s funny, all three gilts (girls) are strong and healthy, but the three remaining boars are much weaker and I’m quite concerned about two of them, so I’ll be bottle feeding them, not to replace Pinky’s milk but to top it up. So far, they are resisting my efforts, which I think is a good sign, but I’ll persevere, just in case!

The day started cloudy, which was fitting, but the sun broke through the clouds and burned hot in the sky for the rest of the day. Jennie and her clan came over for the afternoon, and we played with the piglets, had a picnic in the orchard, walked the dogs down to the river, visited all the pigs, played with the piglets again … Good times!

Perky, Fergie, Scrumpy and Brini - 27 September 2009

Fergie, Scrumpy and Brini relax in the morning sun ... Perky (on the left) keeps eating!

Bailey - 27 September 2009

Bailey also enjoyed the sunshine and spent most of the day lying on the cool earth with the hot sun on his back

Pinky - 27 September 2009

It was too hot for Pinky so she settled down in the wallow to cool off

While the adult pigs were chilling out, the piglets had some playtime:

And then, worn out, some snooze time:

Pinky's piglets - 27 September 2009

Pinky's piglets sound asleep ... at last!

Having spent the day being charmed and entertained by the piglets and their antics, I hastily finished my chores and just managed to get everything done by the time the sun went down:

Sunset over the field - 27 September 2009

Sunset over the field - 27 September 2009

And then over to Jennie’s for a bowl of her husband’s delicious chicken curry.

Yup, despite the bad start, yesterday was a good day.

Happy birthday, Curly!

Keeping young Master Curly until his first birthday wasn’t exactly how I planned things, but Fate intervened and Curly has endured. This is a miracle in itself, as I wasn’t expecting Scrumpy to farrow when she did – but neither was she, as I discovered her in the ark with all but one piglet, a pink boar, which was screaming for his mummy outside in the cold and wet… I picked him up, put him in with his siblings, whereupon he found a teat and has never looked back.

Scrumpy and her newborn piglets - 10 September 2008

Scrumpy and her newborn piglets - 10 September 2008

Curly and Squeak - 18 October 2008

Curly and Squeak - 18 October 2008

Curly - 9 August 2009

Curly - 9 August 2009