Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Piggy happenings…

Well the piglets are almost ready for their new homes! And I don’t think it can come quick enough for mum, but when you see them pile on her for a feed, you can kind of see why!

Feed time
They are definitely big enough to leave their Mum having eaten solid food from around the 2nd or 3rd day, so they really do not need her milk now. And even ‘Berky’ our grower has begun to pay them attention through the fencing, something he hasn’t really done until now, guess they were too small. And am sure Christmas Ham will be happy to be a member of the mob again. They regularly congregate around an area of the pen where she is, and her tail ‘wags’. Pigs are exceptionally social and intelligent animals, so penning them off does seem harsh at time, though it is necessary for the protection of their young and to minimise stress to the sow.
Berky grooming his Dad
Smokey grooming him too

So the first should be collected Friday morning and hopefully the rest in the following week. It is always sad to see them head off to their new homes. But there is some urgency to their rehoming on this occasion as we need the farrowing pen for Sage our Berkshire girl, who only as a few weeks until she has her first litter.

We have been a little reserved in discussing her pregnancy as, as with Christmas Ham’s first litter she hasn’t ‘shown’ until recently. So there is always some doubt, particularly with our lack of success with Streaky, our original Berkshire sow…or should that be gilt? As she never had a litter.

However, as you can see Sage is beginning to fill out and looking increasingly subdued in the warm winter sunshine.

We have also rotated their pen, allowing them to graze in the vegetated portion and sectioning off another area to recover. As the winter months are dry, we are regularly watering this area to encourage regrowth. Although this is not really a ‘garden’ it is part of our method to maintain our own fodder supply. That and the pigs manure creates a very fertile environment and the fruit and vegetables we feed them, tend to successfully propagate… so we regularly harvest or transfer some plants to our gardens whilst the area is establishing. Once it has, the pigs are allowed in and the process begins again.

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