Posts Tagged ‘tia’

Happy birthday to Pinky, Perky and Fergie!

Today is Pinky, Perky and Fergie’s first birthday.

It seems like a long time ago that I was sitting in the stable with Tia as she farrowed. All in all, I saw all but two of her piglets being born. Looking at the remaining three today, I struggle to believe that they were ever this small:

Tia and her one day old piglets - 20 August 2008

Tia and her one day old piglets - 20 August 2008

Tia's piglets meet Teal - 21 August 2008

Pinky, Perky and Fergie introduce themselves to Teal - 21 August 2008

Pinky and Perky - 28 August 2008

Pinky and Perky - 28 August 2008

Jennie and (a grinning) Fergie - 24 September 2008

Jennie and (a grinning) Fergie - 24 September 2008

Bad, bad, BAD pigs!

Tia may well be one of my favourite pigs, but she’s currently very close to booking herself a one-way ticket to the abattoir.

Well, that’s what I was muttering to myself last night, anyway.

Why?

Because the little madam (accompanied by Bailey but I know who the ring leader was) decided to break out of her pen while I was at work yesterday and get into the shipping container I use as a feed shed, and to store the straw and gardening equipment.

Between them, they ate their way through the three buckets of the fruit and veg I’d cut up that morning for their “pudding”, plus an additional six boxes of fruit and veg that I didn’t have the time to sort through.

Which explains the rather large (think elephantine) piles of pig poo that I spotted nearby!

But they didn’t just politely eat and then leave.

No…….

They trashed the place!

I spent an hour last night tidying up after them – a wonderful combination of squashed fruit and veg, the juices from the fruit mud and rain water.

And all that to clean up at eight o’clock on a miserable, wet and gloomy Monday evening, after a day at work, running on empty after a very bad night’s sleep.

When I arrived the pair were sound asleep in the empty pig ark near the shipping container and I confess I bit my tongue, waded through the carnage to get their pig nuts, walked them back to their pen (serenaded by six other pigs who didn’t understand why the order I feed them in had been changed), fed them, put the fence back up, got an energiser and battery (my bad, I should have switched the fence on that morning!), cut back the undergrowth by the fence (that was meant to be today’s job, hence the switched off fence), checked to make sure they had water and were ok, switched the fence on and then abandoned them. Did they get pudding? Hell, no!

The only good thing is that they failed to get into the pig nuts or the chicken feed.

Pigs! Sausages, the lot of them!!!!!!!

Looking back at (a sunny) July 2008

I seem to have lost my blogging mojo so I thought I’d post some photos from last year, back when the sun was something warm, comforting and familiar, not a distant memory like it has been this July!

Midge - 1 July 2008

Midge - 1 July 2008

Bailey and Queenie - 4 July 2008

Bailey and Queenie - 4 July 2008

Brini - 20 July 2008

Brini - 20 July 2008

Captain Flint and pals - 20 July 2008

Captain Flint and pals - 20 July 2008

Harold and family - 21 July 2008

Harold and family - 21 July 2008

Scrumpy, Tia, Stella and Brusco - 22 July 2008

Scrumpy, Tia, Stella and Brusco - 22 July 2008

Snipe, Midge and Teal - 29 July 2008

Snipe, Midge and Teal - 29 July 2008

The view from Mum's front gate - 29 July 2008

The view from Mum's front gate - 29 July 2008

Maybe August will see the sun return – and with it, my blogging inspiration!

As happy as pigs on fresh grass!

Yesterday, B and I moved Tia and Bailey onto some fresh ground, so that they can take care of the Himalayan Balsam that’s threatening to take over. It starts to flower from June onwards, and then goes to seed, popping violently to spread its seeds. Each seed can travel up to 7 metres, which makes Himalayan Balsam (aka Policeman’s Helmet) a real threat to anything else that tries to grow, like grass! What happens is that the balsam plants clump together and then spread out their leaves like umbrellas, creating dense forests and blocking the sunlight from reaching anything below its thick canopies. Come autumn, anything that couldn’t grow taller than the balsam (which, growing unchecked, reaches the dizzying heights of six or seven feet) has long since died so when the balsam itself dies, the ground is left bare and barren, leading to soil erosion over the winter. Come spring, the balsam can grow with no competition… and so the circle continues, devastating the countryside and forcing birds, insects and wildlife to look elsewhere for their requirements.

Tia - 12 June 2009

Tia - 12 June 2009

But there is good news!

If you can stop the balsam in its tracks before it flowers, it can’t reseed. If it can’t reseed, problem solved. Well, it’s not that easy, but that’s the theory and so I’m trying to halt this bloody weed in its tracks, no easy task as its been growing unchecked for several years and has really taken hold in the field. The pigs are rooting it (and occasionally eating it) and I’m cutting it and pulling it … and we seem to be getting somewhere.

So I have moved Tia and Bailey onto the biggest patch where the balsam has been thriving for several years, along with bracken which nobody wants growing in their fields as it’s toxic to livestock. Unfortunately, the pigs love it, especially the rhizomes (the roots), so I can’t cut back the amount of pig nuts they’re eating as I need to make sure they’ve got enough Vitamin B in their systems (bracken leads to Vit B deficiencies, which in turn can lead to death). Still, the cost will be worth it if I can stop the bracken growing as well.

Bailey - 12 June 2009

Bailey - 12 June 2009

In a few weeks, I’ll move them to the middle of the field, which gets very boggy in the wet but is consequently extremely fertile – the grass is currently higher than my waist and shows no signs on stopping! They’ll graze there for the summer and then I’ll move them back onto the (hopefully balsam and bracken-free) perimeter of the field come autumn.

Enjoying the sunshine

Forgive the picture-heavy post. I don’t seem to have woken up yet. Uploading photos from yesterday seems like the most sensible route to take, if a degree of coherence is ……. nope, can’t finish the sentence. Need more coffee!

Snail - 23 May 2009

An early morning visitor

Scrumpy tries to get to Perky's food - 23 May 2009

Scrumpy tries to get to Perky's food but doesn't get very far!

Bailey - 23 May 2009

Bailey enjoys the fresh grass

Tia - 23 May 2009

Tia enjoys it even more

The chicks and Xander - 23 May 2009

The chicks and Xander have finally become friends

Looking back

It’s been a while since I posted any photos from our year living at my mother’s smallholding in West Wales, so I thought I’d break my blogging silence (no reason, just busy) with some of my favourites pics. There are quite a few, sorry about that!

The view from mum's front gate - 8 April 2008

The view from mum's front gate - 8 April 2008

The view from mum's front gate - 15 April 2008

The view from mum's front gate - 15 April 2008

The view from mum's front gate - 17 April 2008

The view from mum's front gate - 17 April 2008

The ponies, pigs and chickens all get their breakfast - 29 April 2008

The ponies, pigs and chickens all get their breakfast - 29 April 2008

Snipe decided to help us replace the guttering - 29 April 2008

Snipe decided to help us replace the guttering - 29 April 2008

Queenie - 4 May 2008

Queenie - 4 May 2008

The view from mum's front gate - 5 May 2008

The view from mum's front gate - 5 May 2008

Tia and Bob decide to use the entrance to the chickens' yard and house as the perfect snoozing place - 8 May 2008

Tia and Bob decide to use the entrance to the chickens' yard and house as the perfect snoozing place - 8 May 2008

Shutterfly the Section A yearling meets Stella the Kune Kune - 10 May 2008

Shutterfly the Section A yearling meets Stella the Kune Kune - 10 May 2008

Stella makes the perfect wallow - 10 May 2008

Stella makes the perfect wallow - 10 May 2008

Some of mum's Section A mares and foals - 13 May 2008

Some of mum's Section A mares and foals - 13 May 2008

Ted, mum's Section A stallion - 13 May 2008

Ted, mum's Section A stallion - 13 May 2008

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!