Thursday, 8 May 2014

Two Little Piggies Went to Market...

... and came home with us!

This year’s pigs will be coming from a different source than usual so we thought it an ideal time to try different breed combinations.
After much ringing around and reserving 3 from a local breeder (more news on that when they materialise) we decided with some trepidation to venture to Cirencester Market. We’d looked online at the market reports and done lots of research but it was just a trip out, you know, just to see what was there and how it all works…
Arriving at 10.30 we saw the end of the sheep auction and the start of pigs being unloaded by their sellers. A real mix of sizes and breeds including around 8 pens of piglets to be sold in 10’s, 6’s and 5’s. Some were quite lively, others dozing in a huge pile, one with a wound to its leg (make a note of that pen). Difficult to tell which breed they were so made the most of listening to the farmers and sellers.
We watched as 10 more arrived, were unloaded and split into 2 pens of 5. They looked healthy and lively although one of the white ones was very small. We chatted to the breeder when it was a bit quieter and she told us they are 8 weeks old and all from the same litter, in spite of 5 looking like Gloucester Old Spot, plus 3 white and 2 being completely black! They are a mix of Oxford Sandy & Black and Middle White, with a Gloucester Old Spot grandparent. This all felt good so we talked to the auctioneer about splitting pens so we could bid on 2… so much for “just seeing how it all works”… and 1 hour later we were the new owners of 2 black piglets heralding from Allengrove Farm at Luckington. 
image: new piglets on the HenSafe smallholding
They are a wee bit timid at the moment but within 30 minutes they were digging around before sussing out the arc for their afternoon nap. Hopefully when their mates arrive, next week we hope, they’ll settle down and we can waste some time pig-watching.

1. Do The Research: Get to auctions early to see the animals unloaded. Talk to the sellers, chat to the auctioneer if need be.
2. Look carefully at the animals in the pens. Watch how they move, breathe, behave and be prepared to walk away.

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