three little piggies

three little piggies
on arrival

Saturday, October 30, 2010

immunisations and iguanas

The girls immunisations were due. So after collecting the paraphanalia from the vets we discussed the most comfortable way we could do it. As I am a bit squeamish Jane drew the short straw to do the actual deed. Feed time would be best, they rarely take any notice of anything while their snouts are in the trough, we thought. Food in trough, over the fence and scchhluckgg, squishy squelchy mud we were stuck fast. Fortunately Jane was able to reach the back of the first girls neck and straight in and dispensed the dosage. With empty hypodermic in hand she carefully passed it to me and manually lifted her stuck feet one at a time until she reached the other pig. Again as quick as a flash straight in the back of the neck. All done, pigs none the wise to what had happened, no trauma, no distress. Pheww. Petting them we noticed one of the girls had a graze on her back. Jane cleaned it and checked that it wasn't anymore than a graze. She was fine.
The next morning they were happy as pigs in.... well they were very happy. While they were having breakfast I checked them over and there was no sign of the graze at all.

So what about the iguanas? They were in a tank at the vets. The tank resembled a miniture rain forest. At first I didn't even notice them. It was the peculiar noise they were making that drew my attention!

Monday, October 25, 2010

breaking ice

The girls were as snug as a bug in a rug when I took their breakfast this morning. Their water buckets had a thin layer of ice which I broke by punching it gently. Dutifully I replenished the water by which time the girls were ready for a drink. Before putting the snout in the bigger girl tapped the top of the water with a trotter. I dont know if this was instinct on a cold day or if she had seen me break the ice and had decided to copy. We do have the most intelligent pigs !

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The girls have settled into their new pen, having a good old rut. All this rain of late has certainly swamped the field. fortunately we placed their ark on the highest point so it's dry and quite snug in there. To add some extra insulation I gave them a bale of straw this morning (as it has been nippy in the mornings and we have had a frost. One morning there was even a thin layer of ice on their water buckets.) By this afternoon they had rearranged the straw, airiated it and stacked it. I hope they are not frightened of heights as it is so high it will feel like they are both on the top bunk!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Handle with care

As we were enjoying our deserved refreshments they explored their new pen. I washed the troughs and buckets collected some straw from the barn and barrowed it up to the pen. They played a game of 'lets push against the gate while Jane is on the other side' which was great fun for them but exhausting for me. I placed their clean troughs and buckets over the fence and while they were checking them out took the opportunity to open the gate and push the wheelbarrow of straw in. Now it was time to play the game 'lets run in and out the gate' but once the gate was firmly closed with them inside, their favourite game became 'lets tip the wheelbarrow and run around the pen with straw in our mouths'. I managed to get most of the straw in the arc when I spotted something brown amongst the straw at precisely the same time the pigs saw it. Quick as a flash, I picked it up and threw it over the fence. It had narrowly escaped being a live snack. It landed softly still wrapped in a duvet of straw it seemed non the worse for its adventure. I carefully placed the hedgehog and straw duvet in a bucket and took it straight back to to the barn. It seemed oblivious to it's outing and continued to sleep. I hope the rest of  it's hibernation is uneventful.
video
Moving is usually a traumatic experience but our girls handled it well today. On opening the gate they followed confidently into the next pen where breakfast was waiting. However moving the arc was a different matter. First attempt was to tie rope to it and the quad and drag it. The quad move a few feet, the rope snapped and the arc stayed put. Manual handling was the only way, with 2 strong men at hand I guided the way. It was no mean feat what with sloppy mud to contend with, sucking the wellies off with each step and me not knowing my left from my right. A brief rest when we reached the grass and through the gate into the second pen. By this time the pigs had finished munching and were inquisitive to why their house was hovering 2 feet off the ground. unafraid the entered. Another rest while we decided where it would be best sited. Offering apples to the pigs to tempt them out of the arc while it was positioned in its final destination. A cup of tea and a custard tart in order!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

delicious

Well the belly pork was absolutely delicious, the best bit of cracknel I've had in donkey's years.
It is strange just having the 2 pigs. They have a new pen which just needs it's gate hung and by Saturday should be in their new winter quarters.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

720 inches wow

We collected our meat from the butcher tonight, much more than we had expect. In fact 720 inches of sausages.  He informed us that it was very good meat, lean, tender with little fat, high quality. We felt very proud.
Some chops have been grilled and tasted, the verdict 'tasty, very, very tasty'.
p.s. 720 is the only calculation I'm doing tonight. I'll work out exactly how many kilo's of meat soon

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

chops and chips

We have been digging some wonderful desiree potatoes. Absolute yarkers.
Gary the butcher rang today to inform me that the pork can be collected tomorrow. So by 4.30 most of it will be in the freezer and around 6, for tea, we will have the best pork chops in the world served with the best chips from our taties mmmmm.

Monday, October 11, 2010

the lost boy

On Saturday I received a phone call to see if I had 'sent the pig on Thursday' as he hadn't been delivered! I went straight into panic mode but was assured that the slaughterhouse was closed until Monday so there was nothing I could do. With all the commotion of wrong earings and forms filled in I had visions of him sitting in someone elses freezer/plate. This morning I was bestowed with the information that he had spent the weekend in the cooler, not any old cooler but Marks and Spencers, and had now been transferred to Gary. Phew!!
The postman had left me a package from the nice trading standards man that had been so understanding. Full of relevant forms to be filled in (for the next time) and a wonderful easy read leaflet titled 'this little piggie goes to market......not if it doesn't have it's herd tag it doesn't'. How apt I thought if only he had sent it before Thursday !!!!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

neverland

Thursday went well. All the rehearsing and practise paid off in as much as the boy pig entered the trailer, travelled from the field to the car park, was then hitched to the car. He was given a minimal amount of food to entice him in and half a bail of staw. By the time we left home on his last journey he had made himself a bed with the straw and went to sleep.
He was still sleeping when we arrived at the destination. How he slept through all the commotion I do not know. It was like entering a different world......I couldn't help thinking not unlike how Wendy must have felt when Peter Pan took her to Neverland.
We didn't need to flutter our eyelashes to have the trailer reversed for us, (a rehersal we didn't have time for) a gentleman offered before we had a chance to look helpless. Not because we were female but because he had never driven a BMW before!
Another gentleman informed me my paperwork wasn't in order! I assured him that I had filled every scrap that DEFRA had given me. But no, he definately wanted a food chain record form filled in and not the neat pile of food receipts that Jane had so carefully put in date order. The tag (that horrible earing) that identified him was also wrong. I hadn't changed it to our own heard number, it was still sporting Darrens instead. He scribbled a few notes in his  book and showed me I had his telephone number in my file of pig paperwork for future reference.
By this time two men had come to unload our boy. Surprised to see him asleep Jane gently woke him and coached him out of the trailer, 'come on my son' and he followed the men to his journey's end.
I was told by the gentleman whose number I had to go to the office and fill in the relevant forms then I was free to go. By this time there was a bit of a backlog of cattle trucks waiting to unload. The form filling was as easy as pie, a few ticky boxes and vacant looks from the vet as I answered his questions. At least I new which butcher he was going to. I asked if it was always like this or would it be easier the next time. The vet informed me that trading standards were doing a spot visit, how unfortunate I replied, he agreed. He would be delivered to Gary the butcher. (We had visited Gary the previous week had discussed what size joints we required etc. and he was to ring us for collection next week.)
We were moved on, the car was parked infront of the sensor, the electric gates were opening and closing far too many times and we could wear the battery out. We said our goodbyes and left.
The boy had a stress free end, something we had aimed for from the very begining.

My daughter has been very good, googled all the relevant information we need for the next time so she isn't embarrassed by women like us that give women like her a bad name.

ps
I received a phone call from Gary this morning asking if we had taken the pig on Thursday as he hasn't received it yet. The abetoir is closed and I have no way of finding where he is till Monday.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

D DAY

We have practised every eventualities we can think of have all the paperwork completed. With dress rehearsal over tomorrow the boy will become what his life was intended for. Meat. He has been a very fortunate pig. Not all the pork and bacon we eat have been pigs that have run on grass felt the rain or sunshine on their backs, eaten the best quality food, rutted in the mud. He was never intended as a pet, always destined for the table.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

ooh very good

 In they went 1 x 1 enticed not by melons or apples (we new the cucumber wouldn't work) but by ordinary everyday pig pellets. It's become another game for them and at least he isn't going to get distressed getting in the trailer for his last journey. Unfortunately the ground is too wet to drive them round the field, we still have a few more day's before the imminent departure so if it dries up a little we may give it a try.

We have seperated them and managed to get the boy in whilst distracting the girls so finger's crossed it will be alright on the day.

Our next goal is vaccinating the girls which we will attempt soon. Then getting another pen fenced off as the one they are in is totally rutted and is becoming waterlogged. I think the girls will like a nice new pen.

Friday, October 1, 2010

A night in the stiles!

We have a date for taking the boar to slaughter. So with this in mind we thought we would practise getting him used to the trailer. Something we had planned to do for a while but time had slipped by and hadn't been a priority. It may have been better if we had waited til the weekend, but no on a cold dark night we belived it to be possible. The first obstacle became getting the quad and trailer from the garage. I'm not completely au fait with driving and it had been sometime since my instruction from him indoors and I hadn't had any instruction to reverse the quad. So with each attempt taking me closer o the main road I rang him indoors (twice) had my neighbours advice and still it wouldn't go backwards. There was no option but to push it in position, man handle the trailer and hitch. A bit of a bumpy start, it was pitch black by the time we got to the pigs. They were fast asleep but the commotion soon woke them and they were ready to rehearse. Jane distracted them with apples while the trailer was positioned and the gate opened. Apples were placed in the trailer to tempt the pigs in. They did very well, although they didn't enter the trailer (it did look like a dark tunnel) they managed to get so far up the ramp. With apples consumed, the tired pigs made their way back to bed while we hitched the trailer for the return journey. While Jane was locking the gate and they were stood outside their ark, well not exactly stood, (i'm going to put this as politely as I can, because sometimes our parents read this!) the boar tried to have a piggy back! I don't know if it was Janes shout of disgust or the commotion of the night in general, but his sister was in no frame of mind to 'play' and promptly bit him!