Even the Gloucestershire Old Spots are a little subdued in these sodden times. They didn’t sprint out for their breakfast this morning as soon as they heard me pour the pellets into their feeder the way they usually do. Instead, the porcine pair waded slowly across the run, understandably reluctant to sink any further into the quagmire that their digs had become. Of course, you can start reading all kinds of meanings into their activities once you’ve started to feel mild pangs of guilt having arranged their dispatch. I can start thinking nonsensical thoughts such as ‘Perhaps they know’ and ‘How can we do it to them?’. The fact is we wouldn’t have had them, and invested the time and money, if they weren’t destined to provide chops, sausages and bacon. They’re a really good size now and costing us a fair whack in feed, too, so the time has come for them to go. We’ve asked the farmer-cum-butcher who will be transporting them to the abattoir in his truck to take them at the end of next week. He’s assured us that he will do so as early in the day as possible, when they won’t be queuing with other livestock and the whole process will be quick and smooth. Plus, despite having arranged the dispatch of hundreds of animals, even he feels sad each time an animal goes off to slaughter. Not only did this reassure that our two would be in good hands, but made sense of our own mixed sentiments.
Partly by way of distraction, we also have our hatching project to enjoy – though that suffered a small setback last weekend. We brought the incubator down from the loft to clean and rest it before the fertile eggs arrived mid-week. Thank goodness we did, because the motor for the cradle that turns the eggs each day doesn’t work anymore – despite the fact it’s only been used once! I guess four years in our loft finished it off. So James ordered a spare part he spotted online and hopes to fix it over the next couple of days. Once that is up-and-running we’ll ring Gillian at South Yeo Farm East in Devon and our eggs should be with us in a few days. A very exciting development is that Simon King Wildlife team have very kindly loaned me a Bushnell NatureView Trail camera so I can film the chicks hatching and stream it on this blog. Just need to work out how to do that and we’ll be up and running! Chicks away!