Monday, 9 November 2015

Piglets at Eco-Gites of Lenault


I was really beginning to wonder at the end of last week if Coco was ever going to farrow and then look what I was greeted with when I went to feed her on Saturday morning ... 10 gorgeous piglets, less than a few hours old and already up and about.  What a perfect treat for guests who arrived later that day with their 3 year old son.  Last year when they came they were 2 weeks too early!





10 is a large family (previously Coco has had 3 and 8) but a pig has 14 nipples and so there should be food enough for everyone.  They are small, but then newborn piglets always are small and do their growing once they are born.  One is particularly little, the runt, and was probably the last born but he (I think it's  a boy) is holding his own.  He is second from the right below although not quite as small as the picture seems to make him!



We often get asked why we have piglets now, in late autumn, when surely most animals are born in spring. It was a bit of an experiment we tried last year and it worked well for us.  The breed of pig we have is an old New Zealand breed called Kune Kune.  They are not a large breed and also do not grow as fast as the commercial breeds that now supply most of the pork products we eat.  However on our smallholding a smaller breed suits us but it does mean that if we had piglets born in early spring they would only be 9 months at slaughter time and quite small.  Having them born in November means they have 3 months more growing time, although we do have to feed them a bit more over winter.  It works for us though.

The Kune Kunes have other advantages too.  They are very friendly and love nothing more than a good back scratch which makes for great interaction with our gite guests.  Also, if anyone were to go into one of their pens when we were not there, they would not get bitten, just slobbered on!  Most pigs are diggers but Kune Kunes will graze grass and not dig anything like as much as most other breeds so we can have them in our fields in the summer and they won't turn them into a mud bath.  In fact two of them were still out in a small field until yesterday when they decided to escape ... they could have stayed out even longer but it felt like the best time to confine them to more secure winter quarters rather than have them escape again and it was getting rather muddy in the gateway!  Finally, they are a hairy breed which makes them very hardy so if we do get cold weather they are able to cope with it well.  All in all then the best breed for a smallholder and gite owner like us.


Mind you we do get quite a few comments from our younger guests who expect all pigs to look like this one!



ANIMALTALES
snowingindoors



28 comments :

  1. Sad we didn't get to see them :(

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    1. I know - sorry about that. I should have given her a couple of spicy curries and got her to jog round the field a few times LOL. Mind you our current guests missed them last year by 2 weeks and their son is so made up to see them this time.

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  2. Hi Rosie, those piglets are adorable! Giving them a good life before slaughter is the right way of doing things. My Auntie used to keep pigs for slaughter, they had a good life, but were never given names like the other animals she kept, they were known by their 'dates'.

    And that's why Peppa pig shouldn't be allowed (confuses children!).

    xx

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  3. Yayy! they arrived! how cute, it's clever to have them so late and makes sense with the room you have! Thanks for sharing #AnimalTales

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  4. Coco has done a fine job, what a lovely bunch they are and more than a nipple each! We get the Peppa Pig references too, and every other piglet has that name! Wishing your piglets a mild few weeks while they build their strength up for winter ahead.

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    1. Simon prefers to name ours things like Crackling and Apple Sauce! Last year though we kept Toggle and Ginger. I named them LOL

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  5. Oh wow, ten! puts my two at a time to shame. I can't condemn you for keeping them for food as I'm a signed-up member of the meat-eating club myself but happy they're having a nice little life before their fate is met.

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    1. That is my view - it I eat meant, which I do, I want it to be Happy Meat.

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  6. Fantastic! Thanks for sharing. I have great respect for people that raise their own animals. I sometimes wish we had the room for it, but at the moment it's just not a lifestyle I can commit to but who knows, one day maybe. For now, I'll do my best to support businesses such as yourselves and care about where my food comes from! Saying hello via PointShoot

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    1. Thank you and please do keep supporting local farmers who supply quality meat.

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  7. Coco has done a great job those piglets are super cute!! #pointshoot x

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    1. She is a very clever pig. We must not forget Boris, the dad either (Boris Johnson being his full name!)

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  8. Aw, love those tiny piglets! Too cute #PointShoot

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  9. Well done Coco on your cute little piglets they are really sweet! Xx #pointshoot

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    1. Almost too cute (until it comes to cleaning out time!)

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  10. Oh they are just too cute! And the dreaded pepper pig - you'll be pleased to know my two have zero interest in it, they'd be far more interested in your real pigs any day!x

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  11. Oh they are adorable! Piglets are very special and these Kune Kunes are truly beautiful, I have seen them but not their piglets before, how stunning. My father used to tell me about the prize sow his grandmother had, she had been the runt of the litter and was hand reared in the kitchen and slept by the fire. Years later, even after she had grown gigantic she would take any chance she could get to run in and snuggle up in the kitchen. He said she was the most affectionate pig he had ever met.

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    1. That is such a lovely story although I'd not be too pleased to find Coco in front of the fire LOL

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  12. they are so gorgeous, glad to hear the runt is holding their own

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  13. What lovely arrivals :) I've heard of the Kune Kune pigs, there were some one a farm I used to visit in Suffolk - I'm sure they told us you could train them like a dog!

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    1. Apparently but we have never tried. They are full of character though and very intelligent.

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  14. Aww they are so cute! Totally adorable! Thanks for linking up to #PointShoot x

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  15. Those are cute piglets. Love the spots!

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