Animal numbers have increased this year, although as you would expect that number is now decreasing again. Not that we have had the same predator problem this year as last, just more demand.
With regard to our chickens, which took a bit hit to the local buzzard (raptor)population, we solved it by sending them on holiday. The ten or so remaining hens, plus a batch of broilers were sent off to live with Gosias parents. We send food over once in a while and in return we get eggs on a regular basis and occasionally meat, perfect. Although we still have plans to have chickens again it wont be until I have built a new shelter in the woods for them, hopefully the tree cover will make them less of a target from aerial attack.
Our goat numbers only increased by one and Tuesday was born to Monday, oddly enough on a Wednesday, so we are now one closer to the Happy Days Milking Company with the three goats; Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Sunday appeared and still appears to be pregnant, but a 10 month pregnancy is biologically impossible so we think she just has a good working ruminant, or wind! She will be in season again soon so we will have another go and see what happens.
Rabbits do what rabbits do and at their peak we had over seventy, I couldn’t build hutches fast enough.
But I digress, I started this post with the intention of telling you about our pigs, or should I say statues.
It all started when I extended the electric fence and let them into the orchard to save me the trouble of cutting the grass and if they picked up the odd apple, pear or walnut then so be it, it could only be a good thing.
I always thought that pigs liked apples, maybe deceived by the age old image of one stuffed in the mouth of a roasted hog, but we had four that dispelled the myth deciding that roots, worms, beetles and whatever else pigs find as they turn the earth over was far tastier. Happy pigs indeed.
As I visit them twice a day, spending a little time with them as I potter around the place, checking the fence and the like, I do like to observe them, and on one occasion recently i couldn’t help noticing that they occasionally froze, motionless, as if in a state of torpor, far better than any street performer I have ever seen! I just assumed that they had heard something, pigs are a little edgy at times, but watching them for longer I soon discovered that they were in fact listening for walnuts falling from the tree. As they fell the ears pricked to detect location, followed by a mad dash and a bit of a scuffle to reach the tiny morsel ahead of the competition. It was only the resulting crunch as powerful jaws cracked the nuts open that gave the game away to me.
Now much as I like my pigs I’m also pretty keen on walnuts, they both taste good but the latter cost more than twice as much per KG as the former, and the former don’t require them to put on the KG, so I have since made changes to the fence to divert said pigs around the harvest area. Not that I’ve taken walnuts completely off the menu, I’m not heartless, no instead I have allocated one walnut tree with particularly difficult nuts to crack as the pig tree. I check every morning for fallen nuts and use then as a diversion as I dash in to get the plastic bowls that we use to feed the pigs.
Forgive the mix of tenses in this post, I got a little confused as our fours pigs are now two, but more on that in another post.