Monday, June 22, 2015

Pepper, Oink & Sally

Our three new piglets came home on the weekend. Pepper, Oink and Sally are 5 month old sows from the same litter. Two are potentially going to be kept as breeding sows. The three of them will plow the paddock for us, and help consume excess milk and whey from cheesemaking.

They are truly delightful little souls. I loved our other pigs too, but said that if we were going to breed them it wouldn't be with Wilbur or Jack. They loved to squeal loudly for their food, and their lack of manners sometimes made it hard to get the food into their bowls. And Wilbur and Jack came from very large parents...enormous squealing adult pigs can be quiet intimidating.
Which is why we choose these three sows.
They are a cross of three old heritage breeds, which means they will be smaller, grow slower and are better suited to the natural, outdoors lifestyle.

Pepper, Sally and Oink are just so very placid and gentle, and quiet. I think they are going to be an absolute delight to own, and I think it's going to be very hard deciding which two to keep, and which sow to grow as food. Who knows? Perhaps we won't decide and we'll end up with three breeding sows. Imagine that!

Oink is the shyest. She's cautious and likes to think about things before she rushes in. Oink has a black patch on one of her back legs, a pink stripe down her snout and the odd little spot here and there.

Sally is smart, confident and just as gentle as her sisters. She's solid in colour like their Mum.

And Pepper is the spotty girl. She's the most laid back out of the three of them, and strikes me as the kind of animal that isn't as bright as the others and who's one aim in life is to have a fully belly and a good sleep-in.


I'm so happy to be able to give these three lovely pigs the life they deserve. They were raised in a large paddock by their breeder and here they will have the same treatment. They can dig, wallow, sun bake and eat grass to their hearts content. When they farrow* they'll be able to keep their babies and raise them free-range. Their electric mesh will be moved regularly so that they don't damage the paddock and so that they have access to fresh clean pastures and undisturbed dirt. Behind them we will plant winter fodder crops and when Spring comes we'll put in perennial grasses. Their little pig hut will have it's hay topped up regularly so that they can enjoy fresh beds and a sweet smelling house.
And they will be patted and talked to and loved.
Just the way a pig's life should be.

*Farrow is the term used when a sow gives birth to her piglets.

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  1. Oh how gorgeous Sarah. We have not kept pigs for years but your photos make me think we should get back to it! These are just adorable. Happy pig farming x

    1. Oh I just love them so much! I never ever thought I'd be so keen to keep pigs but here we are! :-)

  2. Oh how wonderful... It will be hard to pick, but you need the think of the ham and small goods they are going to make... Rather than how gorgeous they are :-) Liz xx

    1. Yes with concerns for animal welfare has had to come the practical ability to lovingly raise our own animals for meat. I'd rather eat a happy hog than a factory farmed one :-)

  3. What sweethearts. I have a soft spot for pigs having grown up in a house where at the end of the garden was an apple orchard that was home to a number of pigs.

    1. I'm sure these three would love to be housed next to an apple orchard!


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