And there I am. It’s pitch black.; no moon, no stars, no nothing except the woods around me, the squelch of thick mud under foot, and six young pigs squealing at me for their food with the enthusiasm of Mr Motivator on ecstasy. Well I say six young pigs but what I mean is five newbies and one older, much, much bigger pig who seems to think that the enthusiasm is still to be dished out despite her size. So with a 200 kilo sow on my left and the other five on my right, I stumble forwards with each footstep trying to suck my wellie off. Thanks Wales for your gorgeous weather.
I started breeding pigs two and a half years ago and now have a small herd of twenty or so. My five sows all have reached a nice healthy weight (not so nice when you have the hulk glaring at you with suspicious eyes as you step near her litter to give them food) and Sid, my boar, is getting into his tasks with all eagerness. And I mean eager: I’d found him camped outside the pig ark of a sow in heat just that morning; frothing at the mouth and ready to pounce.
After feeding the pigs across the road, I jump on the quad and, thankful for its headlights, speed off towards the farmhouse. It’s down the sties next to feed the ones going off to the market and the youngest ones of all. The little weaners dash around me, leaping past as if a wolf had entered their straw bedded home only to scramble between my legs when they realise dinner has been served. They key to a pigs heart.
I remember when I made the mistake of leaving three bags of pellets next to where I had penned some sows. In the morning there was nothing except some empty bags, three gorged pigs and a lot of moans and grunts. The first and only time I’ve seen them not fussed about breakfast.
The older pigs, living in the second sty, come running over to eagerly nudge me for food as if I’m some sort of dispenser. I probably am in their eyes. It’s a shame they don’t give me a few coins for the effort.
Closing the sty door, I head home.