Saturday was the big day, the day we’d been waiting for, preparing for. Our desire to keep pigs goes back many years and on Saturday we were picking up four long blacks, a heritage breed that is currently endangered. We chose this breed for lots of reasons; hardiness, tastiness, heritage…iness. Stephen spent many hours building a beautiful home (also referred to as ‘the cottage’ and more spacious than many places I have lived, it certainly has a better view), rigging up an electric fence for their security and building a custom piggy trough from reclaimed materials on our land.
We proudly released the first two little oinkers into their new home, happily watching them explore and snuffle about. All was blissful. For about 1 minute. Then the dog (Winnie the dozy blonde) ran straight into the fence, knocked out the power just at the moment that the little piggles we checking out the fence. Freedom was theirs and off they went straight down the field. And off I went in pursuit.
Two fields later they went through a tangly hedge I couldn’t squeeze through and I lost them. Literally. They were gone and I couldn’t find them. It was horrifying.
For the next hour we all searched as much of our 35+ acres as we could for the two cat sized pigs, but to no avail. I was devestated. In tears I trailed along the road outside our land, just to make sure they hadn’t wandered out onto the road. I was hot, exhausted and in despair. How could we have lost them in the first 5 minutes? After a decade of planning and excitement all was in ruins.
Then hope, Stephen shouted that he had them, I raced back to the field as fast as my middle aged, asthmatic body would allow (seriously I have the cardio functions of a peanut) to find that the pigs were back in their enclosure. I breathed a sigh of relief as Stephen turned the electric fence back on and they were once more safe and contained.
I think I was about halfway through my breath of relief when they ran back out of the enclosure heading once more for freedom. You see, dear reader, it turns out teeny piggles are not deterred by electric fences, or any other kind of fences for that matter. Of course we didn’t know this until later. For now we were too busy chasing the little sods down the field again. I managed to get one of them (squealing in a ear piercing fashion) into the pig cottage but the other was gone.
To cut a long story short about an hour later I was again chasing a teeny piggle across three fields having found her in the woods on the other side of our land. Stephen nabbed her, in the cottage she went and we collapsed in a heap ready to give in the whole bloody affair. Welcome to farming.
Suffice to say the other two went straight into the house, no roaming for them. The farmer friend we bought them from recommended we get them settled for a few days in the house, get them used to where their food is and then let them out. Apparently the really wee ones will go under the fence but theoretically they’ll return pretty quickly. As they get bigger the fence will be more of a deterrent and will hopefully contain them and keep our veggie garden from being piggy molested.
I tell you what, it’s a bloody good job they’re cute.