Zen and the art of pig maintenance (494)

by Max Akroyd

Sweet peas hardening off...


I caught the smallest whiff of spring on the air this morning. No, it wasn’t the goats straw that needed changing. And along with that sense of the traction of new growth, it’s not just the fruit and vegetable aspects of the smallholding that need to be readied for spring, it’s the animals too. All you can do is go with the seasons’ flow, resistance would be futile.

Somehow the pigs always manage to shove themselves to the top of that priority list, usually by being very human about things. If they’re less than happy about something they’ll break it and if they can’t break it they’ll sulk about it. I have a despondent sow at the moment who wishes for winter to end and fresh pasture to root around in… To the uninitiated she probably looks happy enough but even after only a few months’ experience I know a glum pig when I see one. Not even a wholesale sweeping out of her pen and a change of straw could appease her. I’d rather have completed my carrot bed this fine day, but no, her needs prevail. Probably because she’s even heavier and uglier than I am! 

Her new enclosure is ready but needed electrifying. With the confidence of a layman having a bash at brain surgery I set about cutting and joining various bits of wire to reconfigure existing bits and pieces of electric fence paraphernalia. After a  protracted period of cursing and messing about generally the thing was rigged up and switched on… The sow was released and looked very suited. She can dig around all day and if she needs company she can come back indoors and be leered at and oinked at by the boars next door.


She's happy. I'm happy.