I managed to get a few pictures of the piglets, and their mum. Here’s Hacker having investigated me and deciding that I didn’t in fact have any food she stalked off:
This meant that I could get into the hut and take some photos, this is the best I managed before Hacker came back to double check on whether I really had no food..
A few days ago Sir Humphrey boarded a trailer to be taken to his new home (and not on holiday, it really is a new home for him!). It was sad to see him go, especially as he’s now going to become (hopefully) a star as he’s on the front cover of my book (see link to the right).
However, he’s been awfully good at his job, and it was quite clear that he felt he was failing us. He tried several times to get in with Gaffer and Bernard. In fact I’d come out almost every day to find one or other of the gates on its side and Humphrey running back and forth in the alley between the pens. I think it would only have been a matter of time before he’d got in with the other two sows. Given how effective he has been that would have meant that we’d have had a couple more litters in the New Year, more or less the worst time from a weather perspective. I think (hope!) that he didn’t somehow make it in with them and then get out again without us noticing.
Finding Sir Humphrey a new home was probably one of the biggest parts of our animal reduction programme, as even though he is but a single pig, he has been responsible for the production of more animals on our holdings than anyone else (though Muga isn’t THAT far behind to be honest!). I think he’ll enjoy his new home though, and hope that his new carers get as much joy from him as we did.
So we’ve managed to sell Humphrey and Hacker as part of our animal reduction plan. Part of the sale was that hacker was in pig. She is in pig no more… as yesterday she gave birth to approximately ten little piglets! I haven’t managed to get a good count on them, and am trying not to disturb them too much…
I’d thought she was likely to give birth towards the end of next month, and she really wasn’t showing any signs of being that close to popping.
I’ll take pictures in due course!
As part of our general animal reduction we’ve decided to sell Sir Humphrey and Hacker. Sir Humphrey has to go as if we keep him he will continue to cover our sows and we will continue to have litters of new piglets, and we’d like a break from that for a while. While the reasoning makes sense we’re both going to miss him, as he’s been such a big part of our lives for the last few years.
Hacker is going too as we only wanted two pigs left – the minimum number really as they need at least one friend. I’d always agreed we could never get rid of Gaffer, and Bernard, being mostly white, is less likely to sell. We also put a lot of effort into saving her when she was injured early on after we bought her, so there’s an emotional attachment there too. Whereas Hacker has never really been any problem, apart from the occasional reminder to feed her.
With them going, we only have the two alpacas for sale, and then 24 animals (3 pigs, and 21 sheep) destined to go on holiday over the next few months. Once they’re all gone we will have less than fifty creatures on the smallholding for the first time in several years. Hopefully that will make the winter far less work!
If there’s one thing Sir Humphrey likes when the sun shines, it’s a good old fashioned wallow. He’s managed to completely destroy one of the water drinkers, and it released quite a deluge of water until I managed to shut it off. This was much to Humph’s delight, and as you can see, he took full advantage:
I don’t know where it went, but the seventh little piggy is back. There were definitely only six there this morning, but just as clearly there were seven this evening! I wonder with the peripatetic little porker perambulated?
Yesterday afternoon when we went out to feed the pigs I counted them all up. All seemed fine, until I got to Gaffer’s little brood. I counted several times, but only got to six. We then walked all around her pen, and I checked the straw as well, but couldn’t find the seventh. No idea where it’s got to.
It was still gone this morning, so I suspect it’s not coming back. Maybe a fox got it? Poor little piggy.
While we were maintaining the sheep I looked in on Gaffer to see how she was doing. I noticed that she had three little piglets! Joy and felicitations all round. I then went back to the sheep.
I told Alex that Gaffer had given birth to three piglets. After expressing some surprise that it was so few given her size, she decided to look at them herself. She asked me if I’d been joking about there being three. I said no, somewhat bemusedly. By the time Alex had gone to look Gaffer had produced four more, for a total of seven little piggies!
They’re always very cute at that age, and seem full of beans.
Gaffer has been looking heavier and heavier recently. I think she’s only a day or two from farrowing, so have now separated her from the others. Here’s a picture of her this morning, as you can see she’s pretty big:
We’ve only managed to sell a couple of the weaners so far, so Bernard still has eight with her, and Hacker has her five. I’m kind of hoping that Gaffer has a fairly small litter!
It’s now more than eight weeks since Bernard’s litter was born, and exactly eight since Hacker’s followed. This means I have fifteen bright little piggies, running around the place. But it also means they are ready to be weaned, and to be fair they’ve been eating solids for quite a while now, so are probably either self weaned already, or nearly there.
Which means it’s time to start selling them.
We have a few people we’ve sold to before, so we’re hoping to get hold of them again, and persuade them to take some more. We’ve also put an advert in our local farm shop, and online. I have high hopes they’ll sell soon. It’s at this point that you start worrying about the food costs, as each day they’re eating food which I’d prefer someone else to pay for!