Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Daisy does it all by herself!!!!!!


Back to Daisy's story, we had made her a really nice farrowing pen complete with rail to stop little piglets being squashed by rather large mummy pig. Unfortunately she didn't like it, maybe it was the Nursery rhyme wallpaper or lack of satellite TV, who knows but she wouldn't stay in it and if a very large pig decides not to stay in a pen then she doesn't and that was that.

We left the gate to the pen open and fed her in there in the hope that she might decide to avail herself of the facilities we had laid on, but no. And she gave us a lesson in the real nature of pigs.
She made herself a nest in a thick patch of brambles and other shrubs, she had made a tunnel through the undergrowth and there was only one way in, which she could easily defend!!! The nest was scooped out of the soil, and because of the thick undergrowth even when it rained she didn't get wet. What a very clever pig!! But then why not it's what pigs or any other animal knows how to do instinctively, otherwise they wouldn't suvive.

July 3rd 1997 and Daisy starts farrowing, we were very excited, and watched what was going on from a distance, she wouldn't let us get very close. Little pink piglets kept popping out effortlessly and seemed to know what to do, how to find a teat and hang on. We couldn't see exactly how many because Daisy got upset if we tried to approach. In fact we felt pretty helpless especially when she inadvertently squashed three of the piglets. We couldn't even get the bodies away!!! She had made her nest safe from predators and she counted us amongst them.

Now as you know I am a great believer in books and despite the panic that the Pig book had caused me previously[see The three big pigs], I had studied the book for farrowing tips. It recommended iron injections for the newborn piglets, so I had collected the appropriate solution from the vet. It also recommended cutting the piglets tails short to avoid tail biting, and of course castrating the male pigs to avoid tainted meat. This is where luck and Daisy came into the equation. We were quite prepared to attempt the first two recommendations but Daisy was having none of it. She was not letting her little darlings out of her sight, and although the OH had managed to remove the dead piglets [I haven't seen him run as fast since!!!!] we had no chance of sneaking the live ones away even one at a time. I think I have mentionned the noise a piglet can make.

They can SQUEAL TO OLYMPIC STANDARD.

And as it turned out there was absolutely no need for iron, they were free range getting all the minerals they needed from the soil, and they weren't interested in biting each others tails as they had lots of other fun things to play with outdoors. Such problems only affected housed piglets but the book didn't mention that!!!! So lucky for the piglets that mum knew best.

And as for CASTRATION we only had two males and I'll come back to them later.

But once again I had been led astray by a book, and the moral of this tale is leave nature alone as she generally knows best.

7 comments:

david santos said...

It places fhoto of Madeleine in your bloggue


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ChrisH said...

Well done Daisy! What an emotional moment for you all!

ChrisH said...

I had a thought - I wondered if you wanted to link in to the site where I'm 'based'. We began blogging for Country Living magazine and left when a competition we thought we were entering turned out to have changed. Originally we all started blogging about our lives in the country so Daisy and her brood would go down well. Mind you we did all receive criticism back at CL for dwelling too much on 'Children, Chocolate and Wine', hence the name of the breakaway contingents mass blog. Anyway, just a thought, hope you don't mind me suggesting it.

Stuart and Gabrielle said...

reading is Wild health by Cindy Engel, which is a very well balanced study (her doctoral thesis, although it's very accessible) into whether animals self-medicate, given enough space to roam. Like your pig, in contrast to indoor, industrial pig farming, when given the space and the choice, they often just get on with it. We're looking forward to hearing the sequel conceerning the castration!

JJ said...

Wow, clever Pig.

I was in the bookshop yesterday, Sheepish, and I thought of you. I saw a book called 'Three Bags Full' by Leonie Swann. You must go and read the blurb; I've no idea of your taste in books, but it sounded like it should be right up your street!
JJ

liz fenwick said...

How you manage......I stand back in awe :-)

leatherdykeuk said...

She looks to be a happy mum!

btw, I've Tagged you!

Please don't be cross!