What a better way to start the week than to post the first instalment of Nicola’s Hog Blog. Last week I posted a link to Nicola’s article “Can you rear a pig without giving up your day job?” from Go Slow England. You can read my original post here and Nicola’s article here but right now I hope you enjoy reading…
The Hog Blog – August 2007, part 1
I am like a new parent. My perspective has shifted a tad and all my organs respond. The brain is active with thoughts, the heart exploding with love and the body exhausted with lack of sleep. Bliss. Only instead of a tightly clad bundle of baby, I am staring at two little pigs who are nine weeks old. Berkshires.
Mabel and Porker. Mabel is to keep and breed from, Porker is for fattening up. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between them. And at first I couldn’t – but, there are several. Mabel was more expensive (£80 instead of £60) and I can see now that she has a thicker neck and larger jowls, she also has sturdier legs and a fatter bottom. She’s slightly larger than Porker and has more white on her face. She has a big freckle, like a chocolate brown puddle on her snout. Her character is refined, quite graceful, and she is shy, rearing away if you touch her. She loves the water bowl and stands in it with her front legs, dipping her face right under the water.
Porker is smaller, but not much. She has a white splotch on her bottom and a single small freckle right on the top of her snout. She is friendly, with not a hint of shyness, and I think may be a bit naughtier in character. She likes overturning the water bowl. I put a heavy stone in the bowl to secure it and she picked up the heavy stone and hurled it into the straw then overturned the water bowl again. It now has three bricks in it.
They are both robustly noisy, although I haven’t distinguished between their voices yet – perhaps I never will. They have a deep grunt, which mostly they emit when they are eating, or agitated in some way. Sometimes in between the deep grunts there are high almost mouse-like squeaks, and of course the inevitable high-pitched hysteria if you pick them up. I had to catch Porker yesterday who escaped from the ark leaving Mabel distraught – they are deeply attached to one another’s company. I doubt I will be able to pick them up for very long as she was extremely heavy, very wriggly and I was glad to put her back. The ark is huge, hand-built in Staffordshire and was ridiculously expensive – my friend Jackie says it is more like a Barratt starter home than a pig ark. But I can stand up in it so cleaning it out will be easier on my back.
(Next instalment on Wednesday!)