Friday 8 August 2014


Snout in the trough....
I was getting a bit concerned there for a while. I am feeding my pigs with what seemed like a decent amount of food, based on the "by sight" principle of "do they hoover it all up in 20 minutes?" If it's all gone then you may not be feeding enough, if they leave some then you are feeding too much. Well, these young ladies seemed to be hoovering it up in about 15 minutes and are always ready (often squealing their desire!) for each meal. I was feeding by the 1 litre yogurt tub, one each for breakfast, one split between them for lunch and one each at supper. At each meal there is also fruit, so for example an apple and a tomato chopped up between them.

A contented Tamworth almost 4 months old?
There was nothing for it - I needed to refer to 'The Bible', Liz Shankland's (Haynes) Pig Manual. Liz S advises that you feed pig nuts by weight according to age, basically at 0.1 kg per pig per day per week of age, so that a 16 week old pig should be on 1.6 kg of nuts PLUS any fruit or veg you can add to that. She does not advise substituting fruit and veg for the nuts and hoping that your pig will put on weight based on a bucket full of knackered old cabbage and potato peelings.

I love the ginger bristles on these ladies, glowing in the sun
I needed to check the weight of food I am feeding, so a quick experiment with the yogurt pots told me that a pot is equivalent to 850 g. On that basis, Mapp and Lucia's 2 and a half tubs per day is over 2 kg of nuts! I am over feeding, if anything and the girls squealing for more are just lying (telling me porky pies?). In fact, Liz Shankland has pork animals (rather than 'baconers') on the 1.6 kg only UNTIL they are about 20 weeks old - after that you actually cut down to 1.4 kg to avoid the pig laying down that thick layer of fat all round. I am going to have to sneak the volume down a bit without Mapp and Lucia raising a written complaint to the Management!

13 healthy babies
Did I ever give you a final score on the Buff Orpington babies?  13 chicks was how we did; all now in the brooder box under Infra Red (though for the picture, I carried them to the sunlit window so that they could admire the front lawn and you could see them in the natural light). When I say 'final' score, I refer only to the hatch, we expect about half of these chicks to turn out to be roosters who will not be added to the flock, but the hens are very much part of our future as small holders, all being well.

In an earlier post, I was possibly a bit disparaging about the "lacks-a-daisical" time keeping of Kenny, our sheep man. I think it would be safe to include our "fincing" man, Paul in that category too. We have done a lot of business with Paul and we have long ago learned not to hang about waiting on his returning calls, coming up with quoted prices, or showing up to erect fencing when he says. When he arranged to have the woodwork for the post and rail fence round the front lawn delivered "on Monday" we fully expected it to arrive on the Thursday, and when he left us on that day saying he'd be "back next week" (now this week) to put the fences up, we both mentally decided to believe that when we saw him arrive with tractor, fencing wire, rammer, monkey strainer and all his other gear.

The geese and goslings race home to supper,
from orchard to their house
In fact, it has not been a problem, because a) time is a commodity of which we have plenty here and b) it has given us a chance to take advantage of a cheap offer in the Irish DIY chain 'Woodie's' for some 'Forest Green' fence paint. We have been able to unpack the rails and posts, dry them in the sunshine, and larrup a good old layer of this paint onto them prior to putting the fence up. Painting downwards onto fence rails when they are all in one place is always easier than working your way along 54 m of fence painting the bottoms of rails 'upwards'. If some of the rails have to be cut, we can always nip round and paint the grain ends after the event.

There are not many apples in our orchard this year but
this Bramley cooker is looking good so far.
What else is there tonight? Young 'Pirate' is now well settled and getting quite cheeky with his waiting out front of the house and sometimes yowling for attention. He can hear us when we retire to the terrace furniture for a coffee and a chat and will come round and jump up on the table, un-bothered by the objecting shouts of the dogs indoors. He then finds a lap and gets himself comfortable; the only problem being that he is one of those cats who 'knead' you with their front paws while purring, so your belly gets a bit lacerated by those claws through the thin summer clothing. That's about it for this one.

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