Friday, 15 February 2008

Buy one get one free

Listening to: I Can't Quit You Baby (Led Zeppelin)
Yes: I remembered the card
Weather: unbelievable - can't last
Hands: shredded

The days of toddling along with a couple of pigs and a handful of hens seem to be drawing to a close. Hard work is on its way.

I spoke to the pig breeder near Thurso and the two Saddleback sows he had earmarked for me are ready to make the trip over to Orkney. Both have been given 'a good serving' (first time I've heard it called that) by the boar and the little indicator thing on the tester from Boots has gone pink so we are in business.

Their names are Molly and Kim and knowing that has made it all seem so much more real. Kim is about three-an-a-half years old. That's an age where many farmers would be moving her on to 'other things'*, but John-Paul** and his family have grown fond of her and are letting her go reluctantly. She has had only one litter a year (many sows have two) so there should be a fair bit of mileage left in her.

Best of all, he's letting me have her for nothing on a 'buy one get one free' basis.

The pig I'm paying for is Molly. She's just over a year old and this will be her second litter. She's due to farrow (give birth) on April 16, while Kim is calling for the gas and air and screaming 'I'm never letting him near me again, the bastard' a week earlier.

The plan is that they will come over here second week in March, which doesn't give me long to throw up the walls for the farrowing pens.

They won't be the only arrivals. Sally's first week at work in Kirkwall has gone very well, so well that she's bringing home a cockerel next Friday! Don't ask.

My (very limited) experience of cockerels leads me to believe they are mostly serial rapists/psychopaths. Any trouble from this one and I may introduce him to my little buddy Spike.

After a night out in Kirkwall to celebrate the florists' and card-makers' benefit day (ladies' choice, so beer and curry it was), I was back out with the barbed wire this morning, cutting my hands to ribbons in an effort to get Eric and Ernie's paddock ready.

I think it's OK. A couple of bits of the fence need a bit more tension, but I'll sort it in the morning.

As the lads have got only a couple of months left, I'm trying very hard not to think of it as the departure lounge.

* cheap sausages

** I have so far resisted the temptation to ask if he has a brother George-Ringo.


Ginni Dee said...

Oh boy, aren't you excited! I'm excited for you. Getting new critters always made my day. You will be overrun with hogs and be building a new biGGer enclosure before you know it.

Are you getting a cockerel hoping to have chicks? I never had any male chickens...I don't like the thought of eating fertilized eggs, but many people think they're healthier for you. But I never wanted chicks, either.

I must say I just love reading your blog. It's so!!! And you know what they say..."Farmin' is so charmin'..."

Dyna Girl said...

she is bringing home a cockWHAT?..

mig bardsley said...

*not thinking of it as the departure lounge* Quite right, you don't want them getting the idea that they might fly!

dinahmow said...

If that fence isn't strong enough it WILL be a departure lounge. Pigs go over, under, around or straight through anything not built to withstand a Sherman. Sorry to dampen your spirits!
But my! you are coming along splendidly with all your hard labour. Bravo, Malc!(You're 'almost' a kiwi cow cocky!)

Dave said...

So, by the time I get there in May, you'll have dozens of little piglets running around. Huzzah!

Malc said...


I'm already planning the next paddocks - buying in the timber for the huts and using post and rail fencing with netting. Far more professional than this effort.


Steady now! Cockerel - that's rooster to you (I think).


Don't you ever sleep? Bump, barge, slobber, bite yes. . . fly, no.


I've been absolutely paranoid about the fence. I've put it up and taken it down several times this week. It's finished now, but I'm adding an electric fence just in case.


That's the plan`- hope you're ready for some piglet-chasing.

patroclus said...

You're right about cockerels; they are serial rapists and psychopaths, and not the brightest of birds, either. We kept hens when I was growing up (near Inverness, btw) and my dad couldn't bring himself to kill the cockerel chicks, so we used to put them in a sack and let them loose in the woods. No doubt they immediately pecked each other to death, but at least we didn't have to witness it.

Good luck with the pigs!

Virgin Porker said...

Oooo, I'm SO excited for you Malc! I can't wait to see pictures of your new arrivals! You're certainly going to have your work cut out for you now!

elizabethm said...

No, cockerels get a very bad press. Ours is great. Shepherds the hens about, shouts when he finds something good to share, stands around while a hen is laying out of the nesting box making enough noise so that I know where it is. Like men (or women for that matter) you just need a good 'un.

Malc said...


Welcome aboard! No walk on the wildside for this cockerel - he's flying over on the plane.


You're excited for ME!? You're the one getting married soon - a few pigs hardly compares.


That's good to hear, especially as the hens have decided to go free range.