Tuesday 8 January, 2013
Last year, 2012, was the first year we’d kept pigs at Dalmore. We bought three Hampshire gilts, born 1st January, and had them slaughtered on the 21st August. We would have had them away earlier but we had an Introduction to Smallholding course running on the 18th August, so they had a stay of execution until that was passed.
Saturday 3 March, 2012
Well, our three Hampshire gilts have taken up residence in their new accommodation.
We picked them and their two brothers up yesterday from Robert and Lillian Waddell, dropped their brothers off in their woodland idyll then, rather unceremoniously, bundled the girls into their ark. We decided to keep them shut in last night rather than try to herd them to bed, so I put in a bucket of water and their supper, then left them to chill after what had been a challenging day for them.
This morning, we could hardly see them in the straw, but breakfast tempted them out.
Saturday 19 September, 2009
We had a visit the other evening from a friend of Dan's, along with two of his neighbours. They live in a small village and are hoping to rent some land and fatten some pigs.
To convince them that it was a good idea, Dan roasted some pork and served warm pork rolls with apple sauce. From the "mmm"s of satisfaction, I guess the project is a goer. Actually, the pork was particularly tasty, I thought, but that was maybe because I'd been working outside and was pretty hungry.
They had lots of questions, but I think we covered everything they need to know, so they are going off to work out their final plan, for implementation next spring. If our experience is anything to go by, they won't regret it.
Friday 26 June, 2009
We were due to go to Egypt on holiday in October. We'd booked into a plush hotel in Sharm El Sheikh and were looking forward to a week of pampering, sun, sea and good food.
Then the Egyptian government responded to the outbreak of H1N1 in the worst possible way, ordering the completely unnecessary destruction of over 300,000 pigs, and carried it out in the worst possible away, inflicting unbelievable suffering on these animals.
So we cancelled our holiday to Egypt, rebooked for Kefalonia, and donated some of the money we saved to Compassion in World Farming who are presuring the Egyptian government to introduce animal welfare legislation.
Sunday 26 April, 2009
We picked up this year's weaners yesterday; three gilts this time as the litter available only had two boys and we prefer to have all the same sex. These are 7/8th Tamworth and the last cross-breeds that Sue and Mike are doing; it's all pure Tamworth now.
We got them loaded, home and into the pen without incident. Then I did a really stupid thing. Our dog, Tess, loves the pigs so I took her to see them. The pigs were less than happy and two of them wriggled through a gap in the fence into the second pig pen. The second pen has bigger gauge netting, so they wriggled through that as well, into the next field and then set off along the riverbank. Fortunately, one didn't get out and was calling frantically so when the other two discovered they were one down and didn't know where they were going, they were fairly easy to get back to the correct pen. Sigh of relief!
Wednesday 24 September, 2008
Well, the pigs went off yesterday without incident. We set up a race from the pen to the trailer - it was a bit Heath Robinson, comprising sheep hurdles, bits of shed, a patio table and a couple of hen houses - but it worked.
The three pigs loaded like a dream - followed the bucket then got the scent of the sliced apples hidden in the straw in the trailer and in they popped.When I left for work, they were asleep in the trailer. Dan said they were a bit reluctant to come out at the other end but all went pretty well. We'll get them back from the butcher on 4th October, jointed, cured and minced.
Monday 25 August, 2008
When we first got pigs we soon discovered that feeding time was over very quickly. Rosemary had the great idea of using a horse toy, a Snak-a-ball, to keep them interested after their trough was empty, and to give them some exercise. We've always introduced new pigs to the ball since then, and as you can see from the video they love it:
Saturday 14 June, 2008
In the five years or so that we've kept pigs, it has been pretty trouble free. Today, I thought we might be in for a downturn. One of our three boars didn't eat this morning. He was slavering a bit, but his breathing was normal, his "digestive transit" seemed to be in order, but you don't like to see pig off its grub. I have to confess, I did check his feet for blisters or lesions, and inside his mouth but there were none. I sat with him for a bit - he'd gone back to bed - and offered scratches and sympathy. We decided to wait and see.
Wednesday 14 May, 2008
It was hot here last weekend so we rigged up a shower for the pigs. They like it a lot, as you can see!
Tuesday 8 April, 2008
Our pigs have been with us for just over a week now, and are settling in nicely. For those of you who are getting pigs for the first time, here are a few tips on getting them accustomed to your presence:
- Talk to them all the time. Pigs respond well to voice, so if you use a consistent call with them before feeding they will learn to come when you use that call. Rosemary uses a slightly high-pitched 'pig-pig-pig' to call them.
- Feed them around you. We feed our pigs on the ground by simply scattering their nuts - if you scatter them around yourself and crouch or stand still the pigs' desire to reach their food will trump their nervousness of your presence every time. This is a great opportunity to get a hand on their back or head so they can learn how nice it is to be scratched.
- Scratch them. Pigs love to be scratched - start with the back of the head and the back. If you work around to under their bellies they will topple over and just lie on their sides.
- Feed them treats. We hand-feed them apple slices (see vid below, apologies for the wind on the sound again, it is very windy here!) which they love.