Sunday, 22 April 2012

Proper Mingin'!

Sunday 22nd April 2012
Pig Moving Day
Imagine The Good Life crossed with Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em. Throw in a Benny Hill chase scene and a bit of Mr Bean.
You could well end up with a scene similar to what occurred on our farm this morning, for it was pig moving day. Sorry for the lack of pictures of the most exciting (!!?) bits, but there just wasn't an opportune moment. All planning ahead had been done. The route is well marked and foolproof, clearly defined with fencing and with gates along the way which can be shut to secure each part of the journey. The only problem was that I suspected the piglets could squeeze through the stock fencing if they wanted to do, but that wouldn't happen as they'd follow their mum down to the pig enclosure... wouldn't they???

We deliberately left Daisy without food for the morning (there is only one way to a pig's heart) and so, at the appointed time, she dutifully followed me, or to be more precise the bucket of food I was holding, out of the stables and into the yard. The piglets followed in a straggly line. Well, most of the piglets followed. A couple stayed behind and a couple went off exploring in the stables. So Daisy turned back to check on them all. Nothing unexpected so far, and we have learned to be patient when moving pigs. This happened a couple more times, then Daisy followed me in one clean, swift move all the way down to the pig enclosure, about 100 yards from the stables. I decided to abandon Plan A and to make hay while the sun shines. I could attend to the piglets next.

I then headed back toward the stables, only to meet Sue expertly ushering half the piglets down the garden. This could go very smoothly... or they could scatter in all directions, breaking through the fence and heading for the potato patch, the dyke and the farmer's field.
Which is exactly what happened. One ended up in the chicken pens, so we shut the door and left it to calm down. Two ended up with Daisy. And we ended up chasing the other two all around the garden and, eventually, all the way back to the stables. We ushered them back into their stable block, ready to move on to Plan C.
One, two, three, four, five, six...SIX!
Fortunately number 7 was soon relocated under the log pile and, after a bit of an adventurous chase around the garden, was reconciled with its brothers and sisters.

Plan C proved far more successful. Catch the piglets one at a time and carry them down. I am now an expert piglet catcher, and once they've had their mad, crazed squeal they soon settle down to their new form of carriage.
It was during one such operation that one of the little porkers must have weed on me. I stunk like the worst men's toilet I've ever been in!
The word MINGING somehow works very well to describe this attack on the senses.

All the time, Gerald (the boar who overstayed his welcome) was taking a very keen interest. This was the first time he had seen any of his offspring.















Eventually, all settled in to their new home. They ate so much grass and ran around so much, I wouldn't be surprised if half of them made themselves sick. They took a keen interest in the chickens, and vice versa.
There now follows a series of cute, happy piglet pics.











After the move, the clean up.

It might not look a lot, but you try shifting it!




Slowly the second pile grew...
and grew...

 
 

and the stable emptied...
until the last load..



was done.
These compost heaps and manure piles are the beating heart of my fruit and veg patch.

Now I was proper MINGING.
Time for a long, hot bath.

Some more gratuitously cute pig pics









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