Off to a cottage on the west Wales coast this Saturday with James and the three dogs for a much-anticipated holiday, but still a little anxious about leaving our miniature herd of Oxford Sandy & Blacks behind (though I think it would be stretching the cottage owner’s goodwill a little to take them with us). James’ sister Mandy is kindly coming to house-sit and look after the chickens, porkers and cat for us. So, we spent all day on Sunday heightening security in the run, lowering the strand of barbed wire we have running around the bottom of the stock fence and adding two more lines higher up to deter the weaners from pushing their snouts against the fence and rootling around at the bottom (which is how one broke for freedom the other day).
Unfortunately, even though we’d distracted them with an earlier-than-usual feed, one of the trio sidled up to James and bit his thigh at which he leapt up and shouted in shock. Thankfully, even though the sharp teeth drew blood and left a distinctly porcine tooth mark on his leg, his jeans weren’t actually torn and so there was no need for a tetanus jab or anything of that kind. We also visited a local farm to buy some more drinkers. The owner once ran a pig farm and so has a whole shed full of proper old cast-iron Mexican hat-style designs.
There was also a trough that looked ideal for sheep, which James snapped up for its proper farm look – we’re hoping to keep a small flock at some stage in the future.
After a good scrub, they were good to go. The idea is that Mandy won’t have to go into the run and risk getting hurt or knocked over – the trio love nothing better than batting us between them lately as we attempt to get from one side of their pen to the other. With three to contend with, it’s a job to stay on your feet, especially when they’re hungry. If we space out the five big drinkers so the pigs don’t muddy them, it should be possible to fill one at a time during the week using the hose on the garden side of the fence – that way they won’t need cleaning out, but the porkers will always have fresh water. Equally, food can be poured into the feeder from the outside. All should be well, but we’ll be leaving contact details for Rachel, the vet who came out to tend to the poorly pig the other day, just in case there is a porcine emergency. Do hope that the cheeky young scamps will behave themselves beautifully and Mandy won’t have any dramas to deal with and we don’t receive any alarming middle-of-the-night phone calls… Trotters crossed. Happy weekends all.