Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Pig Project | Meet Wilbur & Jack

Yesterday afternoon I sat down in the paddock and watched our two piglets gobble up their dinner. When they were finished I started to give Wilbur a rub. He was standing up when I started, and within a matter of minutes he was lying on his side, his eyes closed, a look of dreamy contentment spread across his face. He loved it. When I stopped scratching he opened one eye and sniffed my hand hopefully. I resumed scratching and the eye closed again. He sighed blissfully.

And just like that, I realised that I was sitting in my own paddock, doing something I never thought I'd be doing. I was scratching a weaner piglet to sleep after he'd finished his supper.
Strange how things can change so quickly, isn't it?

Despite writing about wanting pigs to raise over winter back here, this time last week pigs weren't even on my mind. That's the way things tend to roll for us; try as we might to organised, prepared in advance and all that, it just doesn't happen. Things always happen with a crash and a rush, so that I end up wondering if it's actually happening.
Take the sheep for instance. We were well and truly forewarned with them; we were going to be ready a whole month in advance. But due to no fault of our own (for a change!) they ended up arriving late in the afternoon a whole month early after a day spent scrambling around in the heat like lunatics getting up temporary fencing.
Anyway, back to the pigs.

Wilbur and Jack arrived on Sunday. They're 9 weeks old and are here to plough up our paddock for us. We plan on throwing winter fodder crops in behind them after we move them to fresh ground.
So far they've been great. They were a bit nervous on their first afternoon and I imagined it was going to take them a week or more to settle in. But by Monday afternoon Wilbur was happy to be scratched, although Jack (short for Jack Sparrow) would have none of it. Both of them were a lot calmer though and happy to eat out of my hand and follow the food bucket.
I've fallen in love with them already. I never imaged I'd like pigs this much.
They're actually very clean animals, although they don't mind getting muddy they don't smell and have excellent hygiene, better than some other animal species (such as chickens). I used to think it was dreadful the way they keep them in factory farms, but after owning pigs for just two days I think it's down right evil.
We stopped eating pork several years ago, until we found a local free-range pork producer and visited his small farm to see how his pigs were kept before purchasing. The pigs were running around like puppy dogs in clean, lush paddocks. I've enjoyed the addition of bacon back into our diet ever since :-).


I'm very much looking forward to how this new adventure will turn out. I couldn't help but look at the soil they had turned over this morning and wonder if we were doing the right thing by our paddocks. Only time will tell!


  1. Hey Wilbur and Jack. Beautiful little piglets - you are sure to have loads of fun with them. Sigh ... I would love to have them here :)

    1. They have been great so far! So easy to care for and lovely to be around :-)

  2. How did I miss this post?! You are going to have such fun with these guys, pigs are just sheer delight. My aunt lived next door to a pig farm rather like the one you describe and I spent many a happy hour there as a child.

    1. They have been heaps of fun so far and so easy to keep too!

  3. Oh I love pigs and you are right, they are so friendly and easy to love... I'm looking forward to seeing them grow up! Liz x


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Maira Gall