Thursday, 5 September 2013

The Terrible Circle of Life

Well, I have had a blog post to write since Tuesday and today is the first day I have even been able to think about putting it together.

Remember when I was talking about my dilemma of not knowing how old the little piglets should be before they go outside? Well we made the decision to let them out obviously. We thought that being so close to Mumma and the 3 other pigs would be more than enough protection. Well, it wasn't.

Our little black and white piglet was taken by a coyote on Tuesday. I came home to everybody in a frenzy and her missing. I locked everybody up and went out on a search in hopes that she had somehow got separated from the herd. In my search I was doing a walk of the perimeter fence line and swung in towards the pond, thinking; 'Maybe she got stuck in the mud???' (I know I was grasping at straws at this point). Anyways, to get it in your mind we have two ponds, one which still has water in it and one that is just a muck hole, they are like 10 feet apart and when they are really full its just one big pond. SO, coming around the side of the full pond and what trots right across the muddy pond not 10 feet in front of me, the coyote. Guess he was checking for another little meal. I quickly froze as he walks across the pond, right in front of me, over to the electric fence and hops it likes he's done it a million times (which I'm sure he has). By the way, he's like the size of a german shepherd, friggin huge.

To say that I am upset about what has happened is such an understatement. Mumma and her babies are now locked in the barn unless I have the time to stand out in the field with them. Yesterday I let everybody out and we went walking to the orchard together and I did get a glimpse of how a piglet could be taken. Although protective, when Mumma and the other pigs are digging into the pile of dropped apples and pears they don't notice when the babies get a couple yards too far away from them.

My biggest problem is, I don't want pigs if they have to be inside all the time. I have a plan of pasture raised and free animals and I am not comfortable deviating from it. This has now spurred the construction of a 70 foot by 100 foot pen out from the shed which will be our 'farrowing' or 'piglet' compound. If anybody have a certain age that they think the piglets would be safe, feel free to let me know. They still have lots of grass and areas to root but will be protected by a secure no climb fence. I have gotten all the supplies and hopefully Steve and his Dad can get it all put up this weekend if I have the post holes dug for them, as I am off to Ottawa to pick up our new Boar (and meet up with some girlfriends, farm free weekend!) Ps - any name suggestions for the boar?? It's a large black boar and about 7 months old.

RIP Lolipop - miss you!