Friday, February 10, 2006

Pigs are both intelligent and endearing animals.
There is always great excitement when a new litter arrives out at Simon's Water. However, the joy is always tempered with a degree of anxiety, because new piglets are very prone to mishap in the first few days. Often there are one or two who are simply not strong enough to suckle, while others may be lost when the mother inadvertently squashes them before they are strong enough to wriggle out from under her.
Mother Pig gave birth to her third litter the other day, and as usual Peter had a couple of sleepless nights as he got up every hour to check on them. I suspect that in larger piggeries, they just have to take their chances, and losing a few is part and parcel of it all.

These little fellows (and hopefully a few girls) had just been born about an hour before the photo was taken. The vet has now been and given them iron injections, which they need if they are on concrete and not coming into contact with dirt. They have also had the sharp points taken off their teeth, so there will be fewer "ouches" for Mum!

One can well believe the stories about pigs as house pets. They are actually very fussy animals about cleanliness (where it matters). They are also able to bond well with humans.

Take "Oinky". She was born to a mum who, for some reason, could not provide milk for that litter, and she was the only survivor, and was hand-reared by Peter. She would follow him round like a dog, and would have made herself right at home in his flat if she were allowed.

In this picture she is having a little chat to my great-nephew Teddy. Oinky is now a mother herself.

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