Hassle-Free Pig Keeping
Both our little Kune Kune sows were done the dirty by an escaped Tamworth boar a few months ago, and as a result the farm now has eight more baby pigs. They were born on 27 August 2001, and are unbelievably cute!
However, they're pigs, and while at the moment they're suckling on Dot and Badger, they're going to need solid food in a few weeks, and upkeep, and this is not the best of times for farming, what with the Foot and Mouth, etc. We don't want them to go to slaughter. (In fact, I'm damned determined that they won't.) But while we can cope with 10, we can't manage 18 pets!
At first I planned to find them homes with other Open Farms - but now, with the MAFF restrictions, we wouldn't be able to move them out of Waterhall Farm in the foreseeable future, even if somewhere wanted them.
So, we want to do something to help Rob and Waterhall Farm while things are this bad, and to support the piggies themselves, and we've come up with the idea of Adopt-a-Piglet.
This is for all those of you who have ever wanted to own a trained cuddle-pig, but (a) don't have anywhere to keep him/her, and (b) don't fancy the endless mucking-out and feeding. Well - your troubles are over!
Adopt a piglet, and you get the fun parts... the fussing, the petting, and the cuddling. Waterhall Farm do the all other stuff, i.e. the actual work!
You get to visit your pig, watch him/her grow up, fuss and cuddle him/her (because they will insist you do this, trust me!), and generally enjoy the advantages of being owned by a pig.
It'll work like this:
- £50 adoption fee - cheques to us, who'll keep track of this, and pass the money to the farm. I shall produce Certificates of Adoption.
- Upkeep of about £5 per month, for food, etc - you could either pay it by standing order , or just write a cheque for £60 once a year, I guess.
- Health insurance - turns out that we can insure our own (10) pigs for about £170 per annum., and it doesn't cost any more to insure the 8 piglets on the same policy. So if people wanted to chuck a fiver into the insurance pot, that would be nice, but it isn't strictly speaking necessary. There's a £50 exclusion, and it covers vet's bills up to £1000.
- You'll get to choose your own piglet, and we'll put up a sign on the pen saying whose is whose. We'll be uploading piccies of the piglets as they grow up, so that you can see how they're getting on if you can't get up to visit the farm for a while.
We started with four boys and four girls -- one of the little girls (now Prudence) is being taken by a lady called Peggy, who's a visitor to the farm. Plus my friend Marion wants one of the boys: the little golden one that looks like his Tammie dad. She's going to call him Tama, which is Maori for 'boy'. That leaves six...
They're all basically white with black spots/patches, and we've not named them yet, but we have recognised identifying marks - viz:
Specs - boy, has two circular dots on his forehead that make him look as if he's wearing glasses. Skinny little lad, sprints like a champion!
Chevron - boy with a 'badger' stripe on his face, and a white vee-mark on the back of his black ear. Chunky, and no wonder: he doesn't just feed from Dot and Badger when they lay down, he hangs on while they walk around!
Soppy - boy, patch over left eye and white tip of tail; falls over in total bliss when scritched.
Soppy's sister - girl, a golden-white like Soppy, with a large black patch on her cheek. Also does the 'I am a boneless piglet' thing when you scratch her tummy!
White ears - girl, has all-white ears, and is a very bright white (unlike the golden-white of the others). Very chunky and bold!
Double dot - girl, has white ears with a black spot at the bottom of each ear. Another chunky girl -- we've been calling these two 'the Brick Shithouse Twins'. <g>
I have to say, they're all starting to be real lap-pigs - when they were born, they'd sprint away from people. Now they come up, 'chat' to you in fluent Pig, and expect to be scritched! Blame Wayland for that. I mean, I'd never fuss a piglet...
If people are interested (and I know some of you are thinking about it!), please mail me with first and second choices, or else mail me with regard to coming out to the farm in the near future to 'pick your own' piglet. It'll be first come, first served -- no, that's not the word I want, is it! First come, first owned. Because, make no mistake, the piglets will know who's boss... and it isn't us. <g>
And, yes, the little ones have learned to untie shoelaces. Little furry bastards!
There will be photos, soon. .Jpgs, even. So those of you with piggies can bore your friends senseless with your baby-pics. <g>
Either six or seven of the piglets are now accounted for, according to who makes up their mind over the next couple of days. People have been just bloody amazing... I may have to hand in my Cynics membership card!