Swine and Cheese

A passion for Pigs and Food

Once upon a time there were three little pigs…

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From L to R: Lola, Oinky, Tallulah and Bella

Lola, Oinky, Tallulah and Bella

Today Neale my husband finally realised one of his dreams, keeping rare breed pigs. He collected his three weaners from HMP Hewell Grange in Worcestershire from a guy called Mike Bant who is a warden at the prison in charge of the breeding programme. The inmates at the prison help to look after the pigs which are taken to the weaner stage before being sold on to people like us.

They breed three types of rare breed pigs, the Tamworth, Gloucester Old Spot and Berkshires. The Tamworth and Berkshire breed are categorised as vulnerable according to the Rare Breeds Survival Trust whereas the Gloucester Old Spot is considered a minority categorisation which basically means it is at a lesser risk (i.e. more popular).

Neale took our friend’s daughter, Bella, aged eight to pick them up. Bella has had her heart set on becoming a farmer since she could talk despite Mum and Dad’s pedigree which is very much Midlands industry! The Berkshire girl is 12 weeks old whereas the Tamworth girl and Gloucester boy are only 8 weeks. Bella christened them Crackling, Sausage and Oinky respectively. Crackling and Sausage was a bit too near the mark for me so they became Tallulah and Lola (Bella has accepted this now!). It was quite tricky loading the back of the Nissan X-Trail with three unruly, scared, squealing pigs who had never left their litters before and hadn’t met each other before being hurled into the boot. By the time Neale had got home Tallulah had established herself as top pig with Oinky, the little boy being very much at the bottom of the pecking order with chewed, bloodied ears to prove it.

There was great excitement as we let them loose into their prepared corner of the field complete with brand new pig arc. That they didn’t trust us and wanted nothing to do with us was evident by the fact that they ran away from us squealing every time we tried to approach them. After spending a few hours with them just sitting in the field we left them until dusk. Imagine our surprise when they refused to go to bed in their lovely snuggly arc with billowing straw. Instead they slept outside right up against the fence alongside each other. I was amazed at how it had only taken a few hours for the pigs to bond. I must confess to feeling rather guilty as I climbed into bed and wrapped my goose down duvet around me thinking of our new arrivals shivering in a porcine huddle in the cold.

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Written by sarahh7282

April 5th, 2009 at 5:52 pm

Posted in The Pig Diary

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