Monday, 4 August 2008

The Happy Hams - progress report

Having never kept pigs before this whole experience is a steep learning curve. Fortunately our Berkshire weaners are well behaved and have a healthy respect for the electric fence. They are making contented noises and seem to be growing well - albeit one is growing much faster than the other; he's known as the big brother. They come charging towards us when we arrive with a bucket in our hands and look very cross if we manage to get into the field before they've seen us; clearly that's very sneaky and just not on!

We were feeding them from an old ammunition box (don't ask!) and that was perfect as we could put it under the shelter when it was raining so that the feed didn't get wet and soggy. They seemed to almost climb into the box and had great fun at feed time. But of course they grow and more importantly they grow too big to share the box. It was a little like the time I noticed my baby son looked a little crooked in his babygro - I'd had to force him into it and it was only when I finally managed to do it up I realised that perhaps it was just too small! Ham One was clearly growing at a much faster rate than Ham Two and it suddenly dawned on me that perhaps this was because he was literally shoving his little brother away from the box. So now I put the food in about four piles on the ground. This works much better and I think Ham Two is beginning to catch up a bit!

I also had a fright ten days ago. I went out and Ham Two had what I can only describe as a hemorroid protruding from his backside. The next day it was much bigger. Internet quickly informed me that it was possibly the beginning of a prolapsed rectum - just what I needed - and to call the vet immediately. In the meantime Max spoke to our farming neighbour and although he now only has dairly cows he used to keep pigs. He reassured us that although we should call the vet, both pigs looked extremely well and happy and not on the imminent panic list.

Clearly the vet doesn't have internet and that's probably a good thing. He gave me some worming powder and two days later the problem was no longer visible. This probably also helped with the weight problem.

Unfortunately the vet didn't have any bright ideas on how to give worming powder to the pigs beyond putting it into their drinking water. As they spend a lot of the time splashing the water out of the tub and then wallowing in it this didn't seem a sensible idea. So I bought a large syringe (minus needle) and "injected" it into their mouths - it was brilliant and they loved it!

One day I'll get a photo of them looking at the camera...


RE Ausetkmt said...

your blog is so nice to read. I'll become a regular I'm sure, because I want to see the baby chicks when they hatch this time.

any predicted dates for the hatching?

keep up the good work,
Mother Nature is proud of you.

Cheers and Lots of Sunshine


Up The Garden Path said...

Thank you. I'll be posting an update later today unless we - for the third time! - lose our internet connection due to the stormy weather! We've been off-line since Sunday and it has been frustrating to say the least. More later.

Lorna said...

I know what you mean - thank goodness for digital cameras, I have to take tons of the lambs and goats to get one half decent photo, and don't mention the children!
gorgeous chicks by the way, lovely description of the whole process. Lorna