The Hog Blog – January 2008, part 1
I collect two little Berkshire boys from the farm, one to be Mabel’s husband in the summer, one for the table. Elvis (the breeder) has a quiff, and Trotter is a bit friendly. He already knows what sex is about because he keeps trying it on with Elvis, who wriggles away. They seem much smaller than the girls when they arrived, and less robust. Just taken away from Mum they view the girls as something bigger with nipples and so rush about them madly trying to get cosy. The girls behave like teenagers who have just discovered their little brother in their bedroom, going through their things. They charge into the ark as one and use their snouts to hurl the boys up into the air and out into the cold. But they don’t care! They rush back in again, sometimes between the baffled girls’ legs and just snuggle in the straw with each other. I suspect their own mother has treated them thus for a few weeks, bored with the constant breastfeeding. Can’t say I blame her. This circus continues until nightfall and I have to leave – worrying about the murderous, jealous look in Mabel’s eyes and Porker’s strong snout. Could they kill the boys?
I get home, cook supper, sit on the sofa and worry. Then I borrow a torch and drive back to the field to creep up on them and make sure that Mabel and Porker are not lying in their cosy bed, with Elvis and Trotter shivering outside. Instead I find them all asleep. Mabel and Porker curled up in a huge heap on one side of the ark, Elvis and Trotter entwined in a tiny heap at the other end. In between them is a pig-made hillock of straw.
These are the boundaries then, as well-defined as a long-married couple who sleep in the same bed but manage never to touch each other.
Over the next few days there is one bitten ear. Victim Trotter; biter unknown. Other than that, and a few shrieks at feedtime when the boys are roughly pushed aside to eat at the edges, there is little trouble. All is calm.