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Author Topic: Hi .... about time I did this  (Read 4943 times)

pitmore pigs

  • Joined Sep 2011
Hi .... about time I did this
« on: January 30, 2012, 04:27:04 pm »
Hello my name is Terry, I was brought a pig keeping course back in June 2010 and within a month had some of my own, 4 Berkshires. They were housed in my back garden, A woodland wilderness full of oak trees and years of leaf litter. Within a few months I'd build another pen, another arc and purchased 3 OSBs.  So now 7 pigs in all, They all seems to be doing very well. The chap that sold me the OSBs also informed me of a little livestock trailer on ebay, pleased to say I won it !!! it's turned out to be a fantastic little asset. 
As the months rolled on, my by now not so little berkshires were ready for the chop, I arranged my first booking at the abattoir and asked a few people to help with the task, At this point I should explain that from the pen to the trailer was about 100 to 120 mtrs, firstly downhill, from the pen, then across a narrow bridge over a ditch, then up a quite steep climb past a few obtacles such as veg patches, decking etc.  What on earth was I thnking ?? despite being really friendly pigs, and seriously believing they'd "just follow me" yeah right !  I was recommended to starve them so's they follow me and the bucket .... MMMMmmm not quite, as soon as the pen gate was open we got one of the boars out and shut the gate behind him .... as soon as he was outside he started rooting around, of course, he was hungry.... no amount of pushing, shoving, waving buckets full of food was going to make him or his brother change their minds...... After a few hours, they were stressed, I was more stressed and gave up, I rang the abattoir and cancelled......   I talked to several people including the guys I did the course wth... the recommendation was easy..... I'd been doing it all wrong !!!! all I had to do was starve them for 2 days, when I was ready to move them, walk down to the pen, don't make any eye contact, don't touch them, open the pen gate, rattle the bucket, turn and walk in the direction you want them to follow you.... simples.... Ok, when I looked over my shoulder I had all four pigs out of the pen, rooting in the best ground they been on for months and there was no way they were going to follow me !  I cancelled the abattoir again.
The best advice was from the guy I got the berkshires from, he simply said, buy some sheep hurdles !  This I did, 3 of them, and on my next attempt to get some pigs in the back if the trailer, I enlisted the help of 3 others, we each hand a corner or side of one of the hurdles, enclosed one of the pigs and basically bundled him all the way up the garden into the area behind the trailer and then shoved him in ..... followed 10 mins later by his brother....(thanks for this Steve, so simple). Off I went to the abattoir. Next impossible task ! ... how to reverse a small single axel trailer into a small gap ???  All I can say is that the guy at the abattoir said, "you have all day, no-one else is here"  we had seen a few mm of snow and being on the south coast meant that it was chaos.  Things they never told me on the course ??? Taking pigs to the abatoir in the run  up to Christmas.... check that you have a butcher who is willing to cut them up for you ! The one thing I didn't even think of at the time, why would I ??? this time of year, there isn't a butcher that has time to do this or cold store space to keep your sides for you !! I ended up taking them all the way to Wiltshire just to have them cold stored until he had time to butcher them. 
Much to my horror, everyone who looked at the sides or pork made comments like " crikey did you feed 'em everytime you passed 'em " etc etc....??? No, I fed them on the recommended amount for their age ! so how had I produced pigs of 104 and 105 kgs with 50 mm of fat on them. ??? I can only presume that my garden had provided them with years of acorns, something I now realise a year later when I saw just how many acorns drop.   
Winter 2010 / 2011 left me with no choice but to re-locate, I nearly had to teach the pigs how to swim as they had now rooted down past all the topsoil, I found my garden was clay, which months of rain plus a few pigs had turned into slurry that wasn't going anywhere. I was really fortunate to be a member of a local community farm so I asked the farmer if he could let me have some space for my pigs, I'd always intended to keep a berkshire and OSB gilt for breeding from. The farmer agreed and I put up 2 pens along a hedgerow.... perfectly flat land, can back the trailer up to the gates.... I now have 4 pens, my berkshire had her first lot of piglets (13) in Aug 2011, my OSB hers in Sept (9) both were great during the birth and excellent mums.... So,  despite all the difficulties, having a full time job, the price of food, the frozen water pipe, the cold, the wet the dark mornings and evenings ...... I love em and can honestly say I really enjoy looking after them.  I don't profess to know everyting aout them, I learn new stuff everyday but isn't that how we all start ???  Sorry to go on and on just wanted to let you know how it all started.... thanks for reading.... cheers Terry


  • Joined Dec 2011
Re: Hi .... about time I did this
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2012, 05:13:31 pm »

Welcome from a drizzly Brittany!
(hooray, we've missed the snow.)

WoW! What an adventure - and a steep learning curve! Well done!
I envy you - I'd love some pigs but MoH is adamantly against.........................

A pessimist sees only the dark side of the clouds, and mopes; a philosopher sees both sides, and shrugs; an optimist doesn't see the clouds at all - he's walking on them.  ~Leonard Louis Levinson


  • Joined Aug 2009
  • North East Fife
Re: Hi .... about time I did this
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2012, 07:23:52 pm »
hello, and welcome from fife  :wave:

Horse & Farm

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • North Cumbria
Re: Hi .... about time I did this
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2012, 07:25:58 pm »
Hello and welcome from Cumbria  :pig:
"A good farmer is nothing more nor less than a handy man with a sense of humus"


  • Joined Apr 2010
  • Perthshire
    • Brucklay Pygmy Goats
    • Facebook
Re: Hi .... about time I did this
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2012, 07:38:43 pm »
Welcome Pitmore Pigs - sorry no pigs here - but loved your story and it could easily be translated into 'sheep' and what would be here - best of luck with your pigs
Pygmy Goats, Shetland Sheep, Zip & Indie the Border Collies, BeeBee the cat and a wreak of a building to renovate!!

Mad Goatwoman of Madeley

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Telford
Re: Hi .... about time I did this
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2012, 11:57:45 pm »
 :wave:  HI and welcome from frosty Shropshire.  Whereabouts on the south coast are you?  I used to live in Poole which is where my OH is from.

Maybe ought to warn you that I have plans for writing a humorous novel about someone who goes into small holding.  I already have some stories to include from here.   ;D


  • Joined Aug 2009
Re: Hi .... about time I did this
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2012, 07:17:06 am »
Hello, Pitmore Pigs :wave: from chilly Devon. I too had to cancel the abbatoir twice with my first lot of pigs. A few years later and I (think) have it sussed. Trailer training and pig boards, though I find the boards aren't really neccesary. Just feed them in the trailer for a few days prior to "going".
Aren't pigs wonderful, even when they're naughty ;D Good to have you on the forum.


  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Hi .... about time I did this
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2012, 09:11:49 am »
Hello and welcome from Carnoustie  :wave:

We've got our first weaners since 2009 coming at he end of February - three Hampshires - so looking forward to that. Always had Tamworths in the past.

Fowgill Farm

  • Joined Feb 2009
Re: Hi .... about time I did this
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2012, 09:35:47 am »
Sounds like a literally steep learning curve Terry, well done for persevering and welcome to TAS. Theres loads of us piggy people on here the length & breadth of the country (i'm up't North). look forward to hearing more of your adventures
best Mandy


  • Guest
Re: Hi .... about time I did this
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2012, 10:21:00 am »
 :wave: Hi Steve,

You know,my boys would not "just" follow me either... but at least I was able to get closer than you with the trailer! Good luck and welcome from Northants  :thumbsup:


  • Joined May 2011
Re: Hi .... about time I did this
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2012, 10:53:00 am »
A warm welcome to the forum Terry from a very cold central scotland  :wave:  :wave:


  • Joined Sep 2010
  • Mid Wales
Re: Hi .... about time I did this
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2012, 11:47:43 am »
Hello and welcome. I have two pigs in my time. The first was a gem; civil, obedient and didn't even root up the field when he got told not to. He loaded into the trailer like a gent to go to the abbatoir. I was sad to see him go but that's what we had him for. The second one was a horror. Bolshy like a teenager and an escape artist. He didn't load without a fight. However both tasted lovely and at some point in the future I will repeat the experience.
Silly Spangled Appenzellers, Dutch bantams, Lavender Araucanas, a turkey called Alistair, Muscovy ducks and Jimmy the Fell pony. No pig left in the freezer, we ate him all!


  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Bala, North Wales
    • Facebook
Re: Hi .... about time I did this
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2012, 10:01:29 am »
HI Terry from North wales - thanks for sharing your experience - we have a similar situation approaching in 3 weeks (First pigs, long way to the trailer unless I can persuade my neighbour to drive it on and off with his tractor) so many thanks for sharing your experience - sheep hurdles to the ready!!


  • Joined Jan 2012
  • powys
Re: Hi .... about time I did this
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2012, 09:15:24 pm »
Hi i cant wait to get my gos piggys 8 week old weaners :pig: sound like you have had alot of fun with yours and by the way welcome and i joined the forum on monday and live Llyswen powys and have 1.75 acre :thumbsup:s


  • Joined Feb 2012
  • Somerset
Re: Hi .... about time I did this
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2012, 11:44:42 am »
What a brilliant introduction!

I'm hoping to have my first weaners this year and your post has made the prospect a really vivid one. Although I have read a lot of books (and the TAS pig forum) there is nothing like sharing personal experience. I'm really looking forward to my pigs now.


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