Three (not so) little pigs

2015/02/img_4589.jpgYou can hardly tell our porkers apart now, which is a real triumph for James who’s been taking the time every morning and evening before and after work to feed them separately. While Porky pig’s been on a diet in a bid to lose a few pounds (he was looking distinctly flabby a few weeks back), Skinny and Naughty are siphoned off into a corrugated-iron enclosure to have slightly more than their recommended daily portion so they can play catch up and eat in peace, without their greedier brother pushing them out of the way for extras. Devoted to the cause – no doubt inspired by the bacon and sausages he’s going to enjoy as a result – James spends a good 15 minutes each time watching over them to ensure that Skinny and Naughty are playing fair and don’t chance their trotters and escape into the garden.
So, now they’ve more or less equalised, we’re expecting to take them to the abattoir the week after next. Alison, Country Living’s Food and Drink Editor, and her husband Keith will be coming to collect their half pig the following weekend and we’ll enjoy delivering a fair amount of meat to friends and family, too.
Still, there will also be a tinge of sadness when we head down the garden and see the empty arks and all is quiet – no enthusiastic grunting or waiting at the fence for a fuss. It’s been a pleasure keeping Oxford Sandy & Blacks and we can see why many other smallholders are so smitten with the breed. So no doubt we’ll be collecting another miniature herd of these ‘plum pudding’ pigs in the not-too-distant future, but only once we feel able to tackle more fencing as the next ones will need to be kept on fresh land. With the nitrogen-rich run going spare, we’re tempted to grow a crop such as fodder beet and store it as extra sustenance for porcine residents. But we’ll see… We’re good at coming up with these plans and trying to fit too much into our precious spare time, like a lot of people! Happy weekends all.

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