Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Have you heard the joke “how do you get two whales in a Mini ?” to which the hilarious answer is “down the M4”? If you’re now staring at your computer screen with a blank, uncomprehending expression, let me help. It’s a homophonous play on words, sounding just like the question “how do you get to Wales in a Mini?” to which the response “down the M4” is now a sensible reply. [The M4 is a motorway linking London with West Wales.]

When you’ve scraped yourself off the floor from your laughing fit, let me pose you another: “how do you get two pigs in a bucket?”

And the answer is, as you can see from these photo-graphs of our pair of Berkshires, “you don’t!”

Doing the rounds this evening, I’d already anticipated that I’d need to replace their water—which they have usually dirtied with muddy snouts—and so had walked up to their paddock carrying a bucket of food and another of water, only to find that their food trough had been commandeered earlier in the day by Gabrielle to wash sheep’s wool. Rather than make yet another trip at the end of a long working day, I put down the bucket and let them sort it out themselves.

I did end up making another trip but to grab my special pig weighing tape measure as I thought the opportunity (heads stuck in a bucket) too good to miss. They both have belly circumferences of 87 centimetres, which means that they apparently weigh 52 kilograms, which means that they seem to be about right for their age and a target weight of 65 kilos kill out weight. This is of interest for two reasons: we overfed our first pigs (this is our third year raising pigs) and, secondly, we’re hoping to reduce our porkers consumption of cereal-based foods by making sure that they make the most of the seasonal excesses of plums and cherries (coming to the end now) then apples (now ripe) then acorns, feeding (with greater experience now) by eye.

To read more about our experiences raising pigs, click on the link on the right, top one under “Magazine Articles” or buy the current edition of Permaculture Magazine.