Monday, March 8, 2010

Our piglets have finally arrived...

There was a small delay between our last post on piglets and this post, heralding their arrival, as we wanted to wait for a litter of pure-bred Wessex Saddlebacks (a rare breed) as opposed to a more common crossbred Saddleback.

They finally arrived yesterday, and after getting over the shock of a 2 hour trailer ride, they are as happy as pigs in mud...

Above: The pigs asleep

Below: The pigs awaken

Above: Willoughby (left) and Spencer (right) getting to know the pigs

Below: And they're off for a busy day of free ranging...

Below: Breakfast

They are supposed to be quite intelligent animals, inquisitive, and friendly...

We decided not to put rings on their noses. Rings come off easily, don't always stop them rooting up the dirt, are not pleasant for them to have; and at the end of the day, their paddock (60 feet x 100 feet) is their's to do with what they want!

Not a happy looking pig...Some friends down the road have several Oak trees, and have kindly offered to collect, or let us collect, the acorns. Acorns, although toxic to many animals including cattle and horses, are like heroin (so I'm told) to pigs. They go almost as nuts over them as they do over truffles. This led to the practice of pannage. Pannage (Old French pasnage, Latin pasnadium : to feed [swine] on pasture and mast) is the practice of turning out domestic pigs into a wood or forest, in order that they may feed on fallen acorns, beechmast, chestnuts or other nuts. [Just in case one doesn't know the difference between a wood and a forest, one hunts in a forest, but never in a wood].

The pigs would eat all the nuts which were toxic to other animals, and root up the forest floor keeping it clean and tidy of brambles and unwanted plants.

Below: A illumination showing famers beating the nuts off of trees for pannage.

Pannage is no longer carried out in most areas, but is still observed in the New Forest, Hampshire, England (below). The New Forest was created as a royal forest by William I in about 1097 for the private hunting of (mainly) deer.

"Am I fascinated? Have I lost my senses? Where am I? Had I not a delightful wood here close to Winchester?"
So asked the disoriented William The Conqueror, a keen hunter, who had hunted the Saxon kingdom into oblivion some 20 years previously. The words are supposed to have been said by the king, after he had discovered what Wakelin, the Bishop of Winchester, had done to the royal hunting forest of Hampage. Wakelin had been given permisison to cut down trees for up to three days to use in the rebuilding of Winchester Cathedral. Wakelin had taken the king at his word, and organised a gang of men to fell the entire forest over 3 days!

After this surprise, William created the New Forest at the expense of more than 20 small settlements/farms; hence it was 'new'. It was a vast acreage, and takes up an entire 2 pages of records in the doomsday book.

More lovely pictures of pigs...

Below are 3 clips of our hounds, Willoughby and Spencer,
demonstrating the hitherto unknown art of pig herding...



  2. What adorable piglets! thank you for visiting my blog, your's is one of my favorites also.

  3. Oh my goodness your pigs are adorable and I love the New Forest in Hampshire too... Great blog btw...

  4. Now those are beautiful Pigs. I always paint the (belted ) I never knew the name but when we had the farm we raised Belted Galaways. They appeal to me.
    What adorable babies.Feeding them apples just like Sir Winston Churhill's pigs They are noble animal's don't ya think?
    Nice post yvonne

  5. Beautiful Pigs! I stumbled upon your wonderful blog, and I'm so glad I did!

    I'm planning on raising Berkshires, once the (seemingly endless) construction is completed on our property, we now refer to as "Hellwood"


  6. I meant to comment under the username of my other blog. My Pork Belly Acres, blog is under construction.


  7. these are posh pigs, the dogs are going to be busy for life-it is important work they do. pgt

  8. I have finished with bacon forever! Those pictures are all beautiful.

  9. Do love the Posh Pigs moniker - you must have a sign made up saying so! Perfect for these lucky little cracklings, oops darlings!
    Millie ^_^

  10. omg.
    this is fabulous!!

    my mom sent me over from
    la petite gallery.
    she is correct, this is a wonderful blog.


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