three little piggies

three little piggies
on arrival

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Can Pigs Laugh?

My phobia for mice is not getting any better. They are running free and wild all over the place. Living under water troughs, in the pumpkin patch and I thought worse of all earlier this week I discovered a nest in my car! My girly screams could be heard far and wide.
My girly scream resembles the noise that Gertrude and Bertha make when overly anxious for their food they touch the electric fence. I always wince, telling them in a firm voice 'to keep away from the white sticks'.
This morning the shoe was on the other foot. As I confidently stepped over the tape my knee brushed against the tape. Letting out a sharp squeal I distinctly heard a couple of snorts and a rapture of laughter before the duo inquisitively came to check me out. As I gingerly left the enclosure I'm sure I heard them say 'be careful of them white sticks'!

Friday, September 30, 2011

New Homes

At dawn 11th July 2011 the delivery of Bertha's piglets began. 2 weeks later the arrival of Gertrude's. Since then I have been up to my armpits in piglets. What an adventure it has been. What a learning curve it has been. For nearly 12 weeks my life has been filled with care, love, fun, laughter, anxiety, nervous tension, pig poo. Enormous amounts of pig poo.
This week most of the piglets have been relocated to their new homes. The pig pens are looking very empty.
Gertrude and Bertha were reunited, not exactly the Bo Derek and Dudley Moore moment we were expecting. More like a couple of sumo wrestlers vieing for prominent position. An equally matched spa which went on for some time. Now they have settled back into their old order of some you win some you lose, pointless fighting about it.
Now it's all done, back to business as usual.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ever have one of those days!

One of those days is turning into one of those weeks. The list of 'jobs to do' this week just hasn't been touched. More important tasks arising throughout the day until there are not enough hours left and the day has turned into nearly a week.
The main cause has been mischievous animals. I think the geese have visited every animal in the street, not any of these visits have been welcomed. They have left a trail of disgruntled beasts behind.
Bertha aided Gertrudes piglets in the great escape. Tunnelling from her side of the pen whilst they made an attempt from their side until they both met and a nice piglet sized gap was made so the pint sized porcine's could keep aunty Bertha company.
All this has been compounded by the wind. It has a worrying effect and leaves me exhausted. Some years ago we stayed in France during the Mistral and returned as worn out as we went. This week the constant hummm has been identical. With all this talk of climate change is Northumberland just getting all the rest of the worlds worst weather?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Is this your large marrow?

Today we attended the smallholders club show and had a lovely afternoon with some new friends. We admired their hard work and entered some of our own. Reminding my husband that it's the participation what's important not the winning. He entered two categories, best dressed stick and rock buns. He couldn't hide his dissapointment at not being placed for his rock buns but he was overjoyed at his first for best dressed stick. His was the only entry, table leg was mentioned only once or twice.
I did much better. Third place for heaviest pumpkin and largest vegetable (No it's my courgette). Second for bird photograph, gentleman's buttonhole and ladies corsage. First for fresh flower posy, crocheted item, soft craft, embroidery with silks and the one I am most proud of best hens eggs blue. I forgot to take my novelty vegetable-natural which was a potato in the shape of a duck and I wasn't placed for my potatoes and tomatoes.
All in all a mighty fine result for our first show.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

It's a wonderful world

This was one of my most favourite days. If everyday was as good as this one would it still be appreciated?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

enough is enough

This windy weather reminded me of a similar weather some years ago. When I arrived home from work I was greeted by a bale of straw and 3 guinea pigs in the bath. When I questioned the culprit she was adamant that it was far too windy to leave them outside in their run. When I suggested she could have put them in the shed, she argued that the wind was far too strong and she didn't think the shed would be safe enough as her dad had built it!
The guinea pigs and straw stayed in the bath for a week. The shed is still standing today!

Not to be left out

Not to be left out there is also a category for birds.
My hens and cockerals have always been camera shy so I don't have a photo of good enough quality of them.
The Geese on the otherhand, inquisitive by nature, will follow the camera as easily as a bucket of food. Talking all the while!

Which one to choose.

 It's the smallholder's show on Sunday and one of the categories is an animal photgraph. I have been going through my photo's to choose an entry. With all the cutie piglet photo's you would think one of those would be first choice for the aww factor if nothing else.

But I keep coming back to these three.

Bertha has always enjoyed getting her photograph taken and will strike a pose at a drop of a hat.

Even when she is not aware that the photo is being taken!!!

Friday, September 9, 2011

be careful what you wish for

When I finished work in February I found the silence at home quite novel. I certainly had a lot to keep me occupied. It was probably a few weeks down the line when I first recognised how much I missed the chat. I had and still have a steady flow of visitors and do my fair share of visiting. But I miss the craick.
I dont miss the recount of weekend activities from staff or the conversations with parent/carers. What I do miss is dancing in the potting shed, playing name that tune, the everyday banter, the stand off's and wind up's.
When I first brought the goslings home little did I know how much they were going to fill that gap. Oh can they banter, wind up and have we had our stand off's. They can carry a tune as well as any one in that potting shed (although my potting shed does not have the same ecoustic quality). They can do a wonderful angel wing dance which makes a welcome change from the same old swan lake we used to do!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A few photo's of Gertrudes piglets

you put you right leg in

does my bum look big in this
what are you looking at?

Super Troupers

Last week my husband told me I was a trouper. I think it was meant as a compliment, only I thought it hilarious.
Last night we decided to take Gertrude and Co. to their pen. After Bertha's lot, we thought we had it sussed. A slow perambulate with bucket of goodies, piglets following not far from mothers call! How wrong we could be. Gertrude galloped knowing exactly where she was going with only one little one able to keep up as the rest explored in a little too much depth the new world. At the sound of mother calling they returned to familiar territory, the stable.With Gertrude and 1 safely in the field and without flacking the rest of the piglets were rounded up and boarded towards mother. Again as they were in sight Gertrude called and again they returned to the stable. After several attempts with the same outcome we decided to resort to moving them via trailer. With 4 piglets on board and the rest running aimlessly around the yard. we took this lot up to mum and sister and safely locked them in the pen. We returned for the remainder, loaded them, unloaded them, herded them back with mum and siblings.
After a quick exploration checking that not much had changed, piglets staying close to mum, we left one happy Gertrude and piglets!
I think I can safely say we were troupers... Gertrude was a trouper, her piglets were troupers, I was a trouper but most of all Jane was a trouper.
It wasn't until the quad refused to go another in a inch, me scratching my head in laurel style, that she broke down in hysterics. I had forgot to reposition the jockey thingamajig and had ploughed a gouge until I had come to an abrupt stop and could move no more. Super troupers!

I'm turning into my mother

Many years ago my mother asked the priest to pass her the condims.... we never reflect on this faux pas but it has been down the slippery slope ever since.
I noticed I had been saying 'whatdoyoucallit' an awful lot and the 'thingamajig' is just out of reach. But I have got my Freud mixed up with Spock! Now Stroppard I can understand because under that calm glowing exterior there is a strop just bursting to come out. So can I just correct that I think Gertrude mothers in the style of Spock not Freud.....not the Vulcan either.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Gertrudes piglets have been taking a moist creep food this week. Apart from introducing them to solids ready for weaning it has also been a way of giving them their wormer without any trauma. They look so cute with their porridge noses!

They are becoming more confident and are now joining mum when she has her alfresco tea. Exploring the immediate area but soon come running when mum calls. Hopefully they will be ready to go out to the field soon. All gaps in the fence have been secured so we don't have any copy cat performances.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

How heavy is a pig?

The worming programme has begun. One very wet day last week, armed with tape measure and notebook I began to measure. Saving the calculating for the warm and dry I was gobsmacked at how heavy our girls had got. I must admit I had noticed they had got a bit heavy before conception and had held back on how much they got to eat. With all these extra's to feed I have been giving a little more and they look in excellent condition but my how they have piled on the beef. You cant use pregnancy as an excuse I was always told and I think as soon as these little ones are weaned, I say little with tongue in cheek at the moment they resemble staffy bull terriers, They are going on a strict diet of cabbage and water!!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Did you read the book?

 Bertha and Gertrude opted for different methods of parenting.

Whilst Bertha approached motherhood in Miriam Stroppard fashion.........
......Gertrude much preferred the style of Freud.

Where are you?

What you doing over there?

I thought the grass was greener

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Gertrude is still not happy sharing her piglets with viewing visitors. Complying with her wishes we haven't been able to take photos. Keeping our intrusions brief, food water a quick clean up and refresh of straw.

Hopefully we will be able to get photo's soon. Her piglets have some very unusual markings In particular one which has a white bottom and back legs!

I Can Fly....Not Quite

The Goslings are also enjoying time out of their pen. We Started with 5 minutes supervision building up until they have an hour or so free time.

After Bertha and piglets were settled we enjoyed a cup of tea and a mars bar in the company of the goslings. Already they are developing personalities although we don't know the goose from the gander.

Meeting the Neighbours

Today we walked Bertha and piglets to their pen in the field. just a slow walk, taking our time, at Bertha's pace. Piglets did awfully well. First there were some familiar sights, smells and sounds from their daily constitutional. Then Grass, lots of it. Not just little patches but everywhere as far as the eye can see. Before long the confident little piglets abound with adventure in their soul broke through the stock fence into the field full of cows. Try as we could they would not come back. Then Bertha with a firm grunt, commanded their attention and were soon part of the procession straight into their new pen.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Twelve squeeky piglets

Bloody hell Gertrude where were you hiding all those piglets. 12 Healthy piglets were born last night between 7.30 and 11.05, unfortunately number 13 arrived a long time later stillborn. Mother and piglets are doing very well. She is a very protective mother and isn't keen on visitors at the moment. Once again Jane was a marvellous midwife, intuitively knowing when to step in and when to leave well alone. Whereas I was only capable of providing towels and cups of coffee whilst pacing up and down outside the maternity suite smoking!

Monday, July 25, 2011

First day out

It has been getting  a bit stir crazy in the maternity suite. The piglets certainly seem ready for nursery if not pig school. It has been a nightmare for Bertha keeping them occupied and under control whilst restless Gertrude is next door preparing for her delivery. So the tenacious ten accompanied mum for her afternoon constitutional today. They inspected every inch of the yard, finding mum's treat of plum's most delicious. Me thinks we may be dealing with some upset tummies tommorrow!


For the first time the piglets stayed still long enough with them all in a position so I could identify which sex they are. Bertha had 4 girls and 6 boys

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Goosey Goosey Gander

I almost forgot to take photo's of the goslings. I've spent so much time in pigland lately, although I do try to take them on a daily walk. Today they were allowed longer outside their pen, practising being free range. They said hello to the cows and chomped on lots of lovely fresh grass.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

Feng Shui

The Feng shui isn't right children, I'm putting the dining area here and the bedroom over there.
Now that's better
spread the straw children


that's right put plenty in the corners

I'm Boss

That's not your space, it's his, you go over there

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Ginger chicks rule

Cilla Black
Anyone with an association with a red head will know that this statement is true. Our busy weekend didn't only involve the delivery of piglets. We also had a delivery of goslings and chicks. The chicks are mainly welsommers, to replace the ones I lost last year, also included a few light suffolks and a few buff orpingtons. The buff orpington are now known as ginger chicks. The leader has been given the name Cilla Black due to her forward personality.

Berthas Ten

Bertha's ten all together after the successful re-introduction of the flight commander. He had shortened tendons when he was born and the vet put splints on him immediately afterwards. I took them off on Thursday and was relieved to find that his legs had straightened in such a short time. I was however anxious regarding his outcome. Bertha had rejected him with the splints and although he had had his first feeds from mum he had been hand fed since. (Hourly feeds, oh the joys). Once we new his legs were fine we began to make plans for the re-introduction. Swapping smells, timing feeds we marked him with an x. When the time was right I left Jane 'to get on with it' and with a bit of jiggery pokery magic stuff he was accepted by siblings and by the next feed by mum too.
This morning his x had gone, he is back with his large happy family.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Monday, July 11, 2011

Nappy Days !!!

It feels so much better after a cup of tea, a slice of toast, a salty bath and a clean nighty!

Happy Berthaday

I awoke a little after 4 to discover that Bertha had already gone into labour.  I frantically rang Jane who arrived very quickly. Bertha had produced 4 piglets, all looking healthy and number 5 and 6 came in succession only a minute apart. Then things became difficult. She took a long time to produce a mass of placenta's and was becoming tired but after a break 7 and 8 made their way into the world. Yet she still didnt seem to be finished. She laboured on and she was weakening, she was not expelling any placentas and her contractions were diminishing number 9 was stuck. No matter how hard Bertha tried, in her weakeneing state, she required assistance. Jane gently felt inside and on the next contraction as Bertha pushed Jane gently pulled. We were expecting the worst. Number 9 coughed and spluttered, latched on to mum, another healthy piglet. We waited what seemed an eternity for number 10 and again we were not expecting a positive outcome. Again a little cough and spluttering it latched on. How lucky is that 10 healthy live piglets. But Bertha was weak she was no longer having contractions and she still hadn't expelled the placenta's. After waiting and watching  we decided tocall the vet who evacuted one manually and gave her an injection and soon after she released the rest. Leaving Bertha and piglets alone we retired to this happy picture

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Little Blue Chick

These are the two little barnvelders hatched the same day but in an incubator. They aren't as advanced as the blue chick and it will be several weeks before they go outside.
After hatching, mum kept the chick under her for a further 2 days before introducing her to the rest of the family!

Monday, May 23, 2011

1 egg 2 golfballs

The little blue Auracana was actually sitting on 1 egg and two golf balls. the chick was hatched on saturday and today I managed to get my first glimpse of it. It is the daintiest most beautiful little blue chick I have ever seen.She is being closely watched by her mother but dad and aunty are also keeping a caring eye on her. I have now removed the golf balls, don't want those hatching. Will try and get a photo as soon as!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Rat Trap

After last years disasters with the chicks I am on a mission to keep these ones safe once they are in the big wide world. We have installed extra fox proofing, have chains and padlocks ready for unsavoury characters, but how do you keep the rats and stoats out. We have traps, live and otherwise, but we rarely catch anything! They have been set with all sorts of treats from dog food to chocolate, everyone has a tried and tested treat. so far this week the traps have been set with jammy hot cross bun, mars bar (what a waste) and chocolate spread on toast. Each time the food has been taken, the rat evading capture. To vary their diet a little, tonight they are having chicken fahjita. I have set the traps to the lowest sensitivity and I'm hoping for a successful catch tonight.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The fluffy lifttle chicks are 1 week old and starting to get their feathers. It wasn't a successful hatch. Out of 24 eggs, 2 died, 1 had to be dispatched, 2 are in a recovery box and 5 are fighting fit and rearing to go.
This little blue chick from the first of last years batches is sitting on her own eggs. She is an Auraucana her mate was a blue leghorn so it will be interesting to see what their chicks looks like.

Friday, April 29, 2011

au revoir

We coaxed, cajoled, pushed and shoved but Lennox did not want to leave our ladies. When we were exhausted, Louisa called in the troops and mum and dad came to help. Swiftly they told us to get one of the girls out, we did, lead her onto the trailer, we did. Lennox followed without hesitation. straight on to the trailer. Gertrude came out of the side door, locking Lennox in and voila simple as pie. What would we do without mum's and dad's.
The Girl's had a tear in their eye as they waved their kerchief's. See you in six months Lennox!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Number 5

Number 5, another white star, closely followed number 4. All five are doing well in the brood box and were joined an hour ago by some other day old chicks supplied by Colin. After a brief intoduction they soon went back to sleeping and cheeping.

Number 4

Number 4 completely hatched. It still needed a few more hours in the incubator to fluff up.

chick watch

I've been on chick watch all day and it has been a very exciting day indeed. Feeling the need to consult the oracle, I rang colin at 9.00 am, he soon put my mind at rest. It's not easy being a mother hen!

tweet tweet my lovely

These are what greeted me  at 6 o'clock this morning. The infa red heat bulb distorts the colour. The yellow one is a white star and the 2 brown ones are welsummers

pip pip

Easter Monday the 22nd day in the incubator and the chicks eventually started to pip their way out. By midnight they still hadn't hatched so technically are they Easter chicks?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Lennox has been keeping Bertha and Gertrude company for 5 weeks now. Like most hareems they have had their ups and downs, good days and bad, rows and make ups, a fair few nights in the huffy bed. Hopefully the deed is done. They were both in season when he arrived, showing a particular penchant to Bertha who hasn't been in season since. Without piggy pregnancy test we hope this is a positive sign. Gertrude came into season again 2 weeks ago and became Lennox's favourite gal. If she isn't pregnant we have one last chance this weekend when she is due in season again. Then alas Lennox will go home.

Friday, March 18, 2011

seasonal adjustment

How time passes, we think slowly, in the winter months but already it is the middle of March. As the daylight hours increase so does our workload.
So far this year we have been going through the daily motions, lost all but 3 chickens and have been getting ready for breeding our girls. Built some impressive pens and kitted them out with some arks. We made the decision to keep both our girls and therefore they have names. Getrude and Bertha. They are all grown up and last night were introduced to Lennox the boar. I don't know what the etiquette is in the pig world but the were very familiar from the start.