Saturday, 28 April 2012

Sickly little piglet......

On Thursday afternoon Fen reported that the Old Spot was completely off her food.....we knew this wasn't a good sign. A pig that doesn't eat it's main stay protein is obviously not right. There is a reason for the saying 'As greedy as a pig'. Especially Old Spot, she is the greediest of them all. 

After monitoring her for 12 hours, we were discussing calling out to the vet.  A day later and she still wasn't eating the new food. I did the fatal thing of looking online. Never, ever self diagnose anything or anyone online.  You will believe it is something so serious, you think that you or the said pig is about to die any second!

However, we also realised that we had changed the type of food the girls are receiving. They have moved on from weaner pellets to grower pellets.  We decided to give her an apple and some bread (they are a particular favourite of old spot). Surprise, surprise she wolfed them down!  

Luckily this morning she has returned to her normal, greedy self. Therefore, diagnosis confirmed as FUSSY LITTLE MADAM! 
We are very lucky to have the constant reference support of Clare and Robin at Oaklands Pigs, (where Fen and I did our Pig Keeping course). It has proved invaluable, not only to attend the course, but the support and advice they are very happy to give you during situations such as this.  Thank you very much.

On a side note, the bluebells are out on mass at the moment. We are lucky enough to be surrounded by beautiful woodland in West Sussex. Here are a couple if pictures of the bluebells in the woods just adjacent to where the pigs live. Simply stunning.

Friday, 20 April 2012

This little piggy liked roast beef. This little piggy was very fussy!

Well we are one month in and the piglets have settled there turf war and we are happy smallholders! 

It is amazing how quickly the piglets grow and how they acclimatise to their new surroundings and bed mates. 

They have had lots of visitors over this past month.....well they are very cute at the moment, so its nice to show them off and the kids love it!

Helen introducing baby Iris to the piglets (11 weeks)

Archie feeding the piglets (12 weeks)

Devon and Olly showing the pigs off to Louis

We have also learnt a lot in the past month. Lessons for our next piglets -

  1. Ensure the electric wire is at a lower height than the piglet - otherwise they escape!
  2. Give them a smaller area when they first arrive - otherwise they poo everywhere including in the ark!
  3. Don't worry about bullying - they sort it out between themselves.

This past week had been very wet and I am secretly pleased it wasn't my week to feed!  We work on a 3 week rota and poor Alan and Helen were on duty this past week, which has been a complete washout. Amazingly the week after the hosepipe ban came into force! Oh well its good for the garden.....

Talking of gardens. We have our own 'allotment' style patch at the end of our garden and this week I have managed to plant all my potatoes, onions, shallots. I also have a massive amount of seedlings coming on in the greenhouse. Fingers crossed for a good harvest later in the year.

Soppy as I am, I am also growing crops for the pigs to gorge on.  Kale and spinach. However we have noticed that these piglets are terribly fussy and don't like green vegetables! Apples and strawberries yes. Cucumber, cauliflower and spinach a big fat NO! You are thinking spoilt piglets!  Definitely!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

And the gloves are's every women for herself!

With our first pigs, we bought them from the same breeder, so they were in the same pen when I collected them. However, this new herd are from 2 different farms. The first time the Oxford Sandy's met the Gloucester Old Spot was in their new home. In hindsight we should have seperated them by a fence for a few days, but hindsight is a great thing!

Poor Spotty Mark II. She has been through the mill these past few days. 6 rounds with Tyson and Mohammed combined. Hey, perhaps we have our new 'names' for the rulers of the sty, that are the Oxford Sandy and Blacks. Pigs will establish a natural pecking order and my have those girls made sure they were the rulers.

I am hoping harmony establishes itself soon and poor old Spotty is accepted into the herd soon.

On the plus side, they are all starting to allow us to stroke them, Which at this age, when the piglets are so small, is such a lovely thing for the children.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

The story so far........

This is the second round of pigs for us as the Boundary Pig keepers and so I have decided to keep a blog.

Fen, Alan, Grant and Larry (the dog)

Fen, Alan, Emma and Larry (the dog)

We are three families, who love animals and like good food, but like to know where it comes from and that it's had a good life.
In September, Fen and I went on a pig keeping course with Oaklands Pigs, East Sussex and came home the proud owners of 3 weaners.  Now one thing we were told was never ever under any circumstances to name them and we didn't, however they naturally acquired their names...........Spotty, Snouty and Big Ginger.

After 5 very enjoyable months a heart rendering decision to send our not so little piggies to the slaughter house. It was a very hard decision, but on 13th February, we, as a collective sent them off to meet their maker. Grant (my husband) even accompanied Spotty, Snouty and Big Ginger to the abbatior to firstly make sure they were ok, but to retrieve some blood, to make black pudding.
Three little pigs and Devon (our daughter)

The pigs at 7 months old and 100kg each
And that is where the pork fest started.  225 kilos of meat later, 3 full freezers and a real knowledge of where every cut of meat comes from on a pig....hams, sausages, black pudding, ribs, belly, loins, spare rib, bacon...............

So on Saturday we collected our 3 weaners gilts (girls). They are a 9 week old Gloucester Old Spot and two 8 week old Oxford Sandy and Blacks. So cute and sweet. Just adorable. And so the journey starts again...............
The three new piglets