Breeding pedigree Gloucester Old Spot pigs since 2002

Late Summer dampness and consequently my best algae-removal tip

muddypiglets500-min
​It has rained every day so far this month, from a short light drizzle to torrential monsoon-quality rain and hailstones. And we haven't even reached the autumn equinox. Which is 22nd September this year if you're interested. The end result of this is the unwanted arrival of nostoc commune. While this might sound like a cult or an indie band it is ...
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Two new litters - one better behaved than the other

Two new litters - one better behaved than the other
The 16 year old farm car gave up the ghost this month and died the peaceful death of a bashed-up old warrior. We decided not to replace it and so we got a tow bar fixed to the other car. It took all of five minutes for me to bash my knee on it. Owowow. Spatial awareness is clearly not my go-to skill. Both Edith Pig and Effie Pig farrowed this month...
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Shower baths, fencing, digging and head butting

showerbath500-mi_20170719-140158_1
            The fencing renovations are all finished. This meant that old fencing was replaced or repaired, and a new pig paddock was created and a lot of the old wooden gates were replaced with shiny new metal ones. Ones that rams can't destroy by head butting. A mechanical digger levelled all...
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Five Things a Pig Mid-wife Needs

notebook500-min
1. A chair. Farrowing a pig can take a long time so a comfy, fold-up chair is a necessity while you're waiting. You can move it around if the sow is restless and changing her position. Also reading material – at least until the piglets start arriving. 2. Stationery. A pen and a notebook so you can record the times of new born piglets and their gend...
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Five essentials that all pig keepers need

Muddyears500-min
1. Nappy cream. For sunburnt lop ears (GOS pig occupational hazard!) and for applying to cuts and grazes that all pigs get. Very cheap, soothing and antiseptic and it sticks - so that a pig can't shake it off her ears. 2. Disposable gloves. For iodine-ing new born piglet navels without staining your hands orange. And for applying nappy cream (...
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How to weigh a young pig with a measuring tape

How to weigh a young pig with a measuring tape
​This is much easier than weighing an adult pig by using a measuring tape. And that's because there is no arithmetic involved! All you need is a measuring tape and the table below. Place one end of the tape measure just behind the front legs of your pig and measure the circumference of the pig's girth. This measurement is called the Heart Girth . L...
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How to weigh an adult pig using a measuring tape

How to weigh an adult pig using a measuring tape
Weighing a fully grown adult pig is not an easy task. Apart from needing to have gigantic scales you also need the co-operation of your large and independently-minded pig. But there is a simpler way and you can do it while your pig is standing still and eating his breakfast. First measure your pig! Find a tape measure, or a piece of strin...
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Five Things I'm Always Saying to a Pig

Five Things I'm Always Saying to a Pig
Is that helping? How is that helping? Come back with that bucket…. You're a lovely pig. Stop chewing my wellies. Ow. I can't clean that if you're standing on it.

Lots of piglets and a lot of wind

Lots of piglets and a lot of wind
We're getting our breath back after an exceptional month in which three piglet litters were born. The logistics of this took some planning as each mother needs her own maternity quarters and heat lamp. Priscilla Pig gave birth on the same day as Effie Pig. With perfect timing Effie started just after Priscilla had finished. It can take two hou...
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Celebrating Elvira Pig

Celebrating Elvira Pig
This has been a quiet month with well-behaved weather and a few atmospheric and pretty frosts. The pig paddocks are still in good condition considering it is the middle of winter. There's even a faint suggestion of green grassy shoots coming up. Elvira Pig, the matriarch of our herd, died of old age after a long and happy life. She was 12 and we'd ...
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Happy New Year

Happy New Year
Year's end - a time for reflection, but also for all the usual daily farming jobs. Nothing stands still on a farm! The pig paddocks are holding up remarkably well for the time of year. This time last year it was a rather muddy quagmire with gale-force wind. Today it is still firm underfoot, which is good for both pigs and sheep and also for humans ...
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Winter is coming, and it's cold

Winter is coming, and it's cold
We're having one harder frost after another at the moment. Even the ice in the water troughs has ice. It's very beautiful outside but the pigs find the frozen ground difficult to negotiate. For all their girth and size pigs have delicate trotters. Some of the retired old lady sows don't think much of the cold at all and are staying in their arks fo...
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Doves, herons and piglets

Doves, herons and piglets
​ Autumn has been gorgeous so far. The colours in the hedgerows and garden are glorious reds, golds, limes and yellows and I'm still picking wild blackberries. Rooks and blackbirds have been perching in the very tops of the orchard trees and scoffing apples from the branch. The crab apples are excellent this year and a lot of jewel-coloured crab ap...
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New Arrivals

New Arrivals
​ Everyone on the farm is enjoying this golden weather. The pigs have been basking. The sheep had their feet checked. The grass is still growing and the pig paddocks are nice and dry. Every September I find a wasps' nest. This year it was hanging just inside the doorway of an ark that has been unoccupied all summer. It was a true thing of beauty, t...
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Still very hot and sunny

Still very hot and sunny
A quiet but busy few weeks. Spring cleaning apparently takes place in August on this farm! Things have been scrubbed, disinfected, decluttered and organized both inside and outside. The hot, sunny weather continued so there was still daily watering of both the pigs and their wallows and the vegetable garden. There was also the picking of vast quant...
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The end of an era

The end of an era
Today we said goodbye to our small herd of Devon Ruby cattle as they left for another farm on Exmoor. There's a nice symmetry about this as Exmoor is where Devon Rubies originated. We built the herd up from scratch many years ago and were sad to see them go, even though they are going to a good home. Priscilla Pig farrowed this month in a rather re...
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Not so much flaming June as busy June

Not so much flaming June as busy June
 Another busy month in the maternity wards, thanks to Effie, Edith and Pandora Pigs. Two of them kept us on the hop by being very late. So there was a lot of regular mid-wifely checking at all hours. All mothers and piglets are doing very well and the piglets are scampering about happily. It wasn't just the pigs that were busy either. The huma...
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Lots of spots, legs and wild flowers

Lots of spots, legs and wild flowers
What a busy maternity ward we have had recently with piglet litters and calves. Robin Cow had a gorgeous heifer calf, now named Blossom. Calves usually take a few days to get used to the world and although they are on their feet very quickly it sometimes takes them a while to get used to all their legs and to the fact that they can go backwards as ...
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Spring means cleaning

Spring means cleaning
Well, the weather calmed back down so I got on with fence painting and outdoor repairs and scrubbing arks and sowing vegetable seeds and pruning. And then I started on indoor spring cleaning including shredding and burning old paperwork. I do love a good bonfire! And I made a lot of greengage cake. There is nothing like tea and cake after a day of ...
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Spring Equinox

Spring Equinox
Spring has sprung and the days are 12 hours long and all the birds are singing and all the pig arks have been spring-cleaned. We've had ten fantastic days of dry, breezy weather which has dried out all the pig paddocks. Of course, just before this we had a 24 hour storm of 60 plus mph winds and torrential rain that blew the roof off the hen house (...
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