Pig paradise

I’m wondering if I should change the name of this blog to eggs and bacon or should that be bacon and eggs? While we are still, of course, enchanted by our flocks of hens, we are also rather smitten with the Gloucestershire Old Spot piglets that we will be taking custody of on the weekend of 5-6 October!

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Not that we should form any kind of attachment, of course, lest the bond prevents us from producing pork, which is the aim. We went to visit the litter recently with James’s friend Roger, the smallholder and breeder who is supplying us with them. He keeps them in a rented field not far from his house. Surrounded by willows and bordering a river, it’s not unlike the area at the bottom of the garden where we’ll be raising our pair.

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We rather admired the strawbale shelter he has made for them to supplement their arks. The housing for our weaners is something we’ve been looking into – if anyone can recommend a company they’ve used, it would be wonderful to hear from them.

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It was a delight to watch the litter scamper about and tumble around. I love the way the two young ones below facing each other look like they’re in conference about some sort of caper.

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It was interesting to see how much variety there was in the piglets’ appearance – some were spotted all over, which is of course the distinguishing characteristic of the breed, while others had very few markings at all, which Roger explained was less desirable for a breeder.

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We also went to see the older litter, below, for whom Roger and his business partner have created a strawbale house with corrugated iron roof. When our little porkers are ready to pick up, at about eight weeks, they will be around this size. Their housing and run need sorting first, so I’m not going to wish the time away, but I am hugely looking forward to it!

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