Thursday, 21 February 2008

The great outdoors

Listening to: Marquee Moon (Television)
Weather: windy, wet, cold

Ernie looked at me with a mixture of pleading and condemnation. The wind was howling straight into his face, his ears standing on end. He'd had enough and wanted his nice, warm shed back.

I moved the lads outside today. It's long overdue and I need to get the shed ready for the new arrivals next month. Of course, after two weeks of glorious weather, I chose to move the pigs outside in a strong wind with occasional icy showers. I'd also had it pointed out that I'd built their hut with the door facing the prevailing west or south-west winds, so I threw up a windbreak made out of an old wooden pallet stuffed with straw and three fence posts.

I had worried they might be a bit of a handful and called in my neighbour Marcus, hoping an experienced pair of hands would prevent any escape attempts or other monkey business. As it happens, the lads were good as gold. They trotted happily after their beloved feed bucket, following me like a couple of well-trained dogs. I told the dogs about this later. They pretended not to hear.

Once they were in their paddock and with snouts in the trough, we quickly connected up the electric fence, the trainee pig farmer flipped the switch and everything was hunky-dory.

The lads both had a few encounters with the fence which set off a certain amount of squealing and general leaping about. Eric was, as usual, slower on the uptake than his brother and his ample backside made contact several more times during the morning. But they had a fine old time grazing and snuffling in the dirt.

By teatime, the novelty had worn off. Eric had, sensibly, decided to explore the hut and the massive pile of bedding I'd put in there, while Ernie made a futile attempt to appeal to the big softy in the pig farmer.

I wobbled for a moment, but then imagined the hassle of returning them to the shed, so quickly got a grip, gave them a little extra feed and topped up the water and crossed my fingers.

The winds reached a crescendo about 8pm, so I sneaked out to check. They were burrowed into the straw together, out of the wind and dozing peacefully.

8 comments:

fathorse said...

sounds like pig heaven :) Except for the electric fence. My friend's pony was a stupid fool and never learned his lesson. Kept trying to jump over it and getting shocked. tsk tsk.

Having said that, my friend never learned either, and kept trying to lean on it....

dinahmow said...

And the TPF didn't shock himself? Well done, that man!
When I had kids (goats, that is, not the human bi-ped kind)the electric fence just made Biggles jump even higher!

Dave said...

Heartwarming.

Virgin Porker said...

They'll be so much more amiable now Malc, I'll bet. Hopefully no more loud swear words & banging of buckets!

VP x

Homey said...

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT! attempt to pee upon the electric fence..
unless you are willing to put the video on YouTube.

Malc said...

Fats

This fence is at knee-height, so I'd have a job leaning on it.

Dina

Sadly, I've had several shocks off it, my pliers were thrown out of my hand about 50 yards.
Biggles the goat? Really? Excellent.

Dave

Not if you'd spent most of yesterday outside in the freezing cold wind.

VP

Somehow I think I'll miss the swearing. Does one good to have an outlet.

Homey

Suggestion noted. (You're not fooling anyone HE)

Ginni Dee said...

Great shelter. Well done.

Smart pigs will learn to avoid that shock at all costs! So will smart farmers!

mig bardsley said...

Well the wet will make the fence work better?
And you certainly made sure Ernie and Eric appreciate the shed seeing as how anything sounds like cosier than outside :)
Good psychology that.