Saturday, 3 July 2010

Prestcombe Dinah 47 (Kim)

Kim poked her nose out of her hut as she heard the gate into the top field rattle and the unmistakeable shake of sow nuts and barley in a bucket.

She eased herself out of the doorway, carefully put a front foot on the ground then decided she couldn't manage the second. She went down onto her knuckles and shuffled towards me.

I hurried over and put the food down. She tucked in - so clearly nothing wrong with the appetite. She quickly got back up to her feet and, as the morning wore on, she moved easier around her paddock, if still a little stiffly.

This has been going on for a couple of weeks and - if I'm honest - Kim hasn't been right since her last litter nearly a year ago. While the ground was soft it wasn't a problem, but we have had a long dry spell in Westray with cool northerly winds so the soil is packed hard as concrete.

The vet came by on the monthly tour of the island and gave Kim a thorough examination. The old girl was good as gold, but didn't really want anyone touching her ankles. The vet's diagnosis came as no surprise. Kim has arthritis, it's unlikely to get any better and she almost certainly won't be able to stand up to the strain of carrying and nursing piglets.

So the decision I've been putting off for several months now looks unavoidable. Kim's been a real pal and taught me more about pigs than anyone else. I'd love to keep her as a pet, but she's in pain so it's probably time to say goodbye.

Sometimes I hate farming.


rachel said...

So sad. But an act of compassion nevertheless....

dinahmow said...

When this post was loading I caught the "Dinah" bit...and thought you'd named one for me.
Oh, Malc! I'm so sorry for you. Those of us who love our animals (pets or stock) know this feeling.
You're a good farmer. Don't hate the job.

And because Blogger doesn't like my Wordpress monica, I'll post as Dinahmow. But I'm at

Arabella said...

You always do your best for your beasts, Malc. Hope all goes well.

Dave said...

The Scottish tennis player didn't reach the finals either.

Chin up Malc.

andrea said...

Such a pretty face, too. (And I love Dave's comment.)

The Learner Gardener said...

We've been reading about Kim for so long now. As dinahmow says you're a good farmer. This is why it hurts when you have to make these decisions. I just had to pop in to say that we will miss her.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

I forget - remind us again Malc, how old is Kim?

Frith said...

It sucks that the right thing is so painful to do. She's lucky to have been your pig Malcolm.