We weaned the piglets. We got them used to coming and eating food in a hurdle square and then one day during egg collection we shut the entrance and opened the other side and funnelled them into their own new pen.
They only had a little bit of outside space in the pen as the were one there temporarily for a week – just long enough to get used to the electric fencing.
The fun bit was next – separating the girls from the boys. We decided to move the boys back into mum’s old ark – she had moved back with her sisters, but more on that in a minute. The girls were going to stay put. The piglets are now quite heavy, the also scream blue murder and wriggle if you try and pick them up. James tried chasing them around, but piglets are hard to catch. So we got a dog crate, gave them some food and pounced. James grabbed one and in the confusion of trying to wrestle it into the crate another pig ended up in there too – as luck would have it, it was the other boy. This was probably the highlight so far of our smallholding enterprise – we could not have planned this if we had tried.
Next thing to do was to widen out the electric fences and give the girls and the boys lots of lovely pasture to roam around in.
But what about mum? well we moved her back in with her sisters which went pretty well. And then a few days later when they were settled, again at egg collection – there is nothing like doing tricky animal manoeuvres with an audience – we moved them to a fresh bit of ground. Actually, it was great that we did it at egg collection as we had lots of kids who could let down and raise up the electric fencing, and lots of adults to help move our large pig ark. Finally we managed to get all three to cross the wire fence threshold and they settled in to eating some new grass, after a snack of pig nuts.
We then threw more grass seed on the old ground in anticipation of rain.
So why separate the piglets into girls and boys you ask – well they may only be 10 weeks old, but really soon they might get a little frisky and we don’t want to risk taking a pregnant pig to the abattoir – that is really not a good thing to do.