Wednesday, 4 April 2007

These little Piggies went wee wee wee!!!!!!!

In 1996 we decided to branch out from the sheep and get a Pig. Usually the choice of animals is down to me but this time it was the OH who fancied ,no wanted, a pig. I talked to the ladies at Travail Manuel and they told me there was a pig breeder in the village. I went to the farm and it was a very strange experience.

The farmer and his wife were quite young but lived in dreadful conditions, they were renovating an old farmhouse but that wasn't the problem. They allowed all sorts of farm animals to wander in and out of their kitchen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And their children were not renowned for cleanliness. As you can probably imagine it wasn't very hygienic and I declined a coffee.

However the pigs were free range and in good condition so I had no hesitation in ordering three little piggies. You may wonder why I said three piglets as we only really wanted one to keep for breeding and one to fatten to eat. I can point the finger of blame at the ladies. They were adament that if we had the piglets at two months[which was the age the farmer said we could have them] then we would probably lose one. So we ordered three little girlie piggies.

We went to collect them on 17th April and the first thing we learnt about pigs is the amount of noise they make. You only have to look at a pig to make it SQUEAL and SQUEAL and SQUEAL!!!!

By the time they were safely in their pigpen we were reeling from the assault on our eardrums. We had decided to keep them shut in for a few weeks while they got used to us and to keep a close eye on them for any signs of illness.

We had of course bought a book on pig rearing and were busy reading the relevant chapters on feeding etc. and diseases of pigs of which there seemed to be a large number. In the weeks that followed the piglets grew at a rate of knots eating vast quantities of food with no signs of ill health. It quickly became obvious that the ladies had been overly pessimistic and we had three very healthy piggies who were eating us out of house and home!!!!

We passed the word round to friends and neighbours that pork would be on the menu in 5/6 months and all scraps would be gratefully received to help fatten three rapidly growing piglets.
The photo shows the piglets at about three months when we had started letting them out into a courtyard during the day. The next things we learnt about pigs is how intelligent they are and how quickly they learn, and that they are also very clean and do not smell if allowed enough living space.
The spotty pig was named Daisy and we intended to keep her for breeding, the pink pig was Rosy and the black pig was Maisy. All three pigs spent the summer of 1996 in a large field enjoying their freedom and EATING, EATING, EATING to their hearts content. As the weather warmed up they enjoyed mud baths courtesy of the OH who would get the hosepipe out to fill up their wallowing place. They had a shelter built out of straw bales and corrugated iron, and luckily for them WOLVES are thin on the ground here so the shelter stayed up!!
This lovely lifestyle continued uninterrupted until the Autumn when all good things came to an end, well atleast for Rosy and Maisy. Find out more next post.


Caroline said...

This is kind of like a modern day three little piggies story. No wolves. Please don't tell me that you're going to eat them.

JJ said...

Eeeeeweeeuuugh. Piglet squealing really is a very bad noise. I heard it once when we visited a farm in the Lake District with the children. The farmer warned us that taking the wee piggy away from it's mummy for us to look closer would precipitate a very loud, ear piercing noise. When we left, we had bleeding ears. My children still talk about the squealing even though they can barely remember anything else about the holiday.

rivergirlie said...

oh they're perfectly adorable - at that size at least. i'm sure they'll have a lovely happy life and make fantastic bacon.