Ok, I know you can't see their faces, but they are rummaging in their new indoor quarters. A great big farrowing pen has been built in the cob barn in anticipation of bringing home a Berkshire breeding sow, but for now, five new weaners have taken residence for a couple of weeks until the ground has dried out a little and they can romp as usual outside.
It's been some months since there were pigs, rather than pork, on the farm, but once the sow arrives pigs should be in permanent residence.
The pen is a massive construction of box steel frame and galvanised tin, concrete floor and inbuilt drainage. There is nothing (I hope) that a pig can get its nose underneath - the strength in those snouts is unbelievable. Once the weaners are permanently outdoors, this pen will have a creep area built in so that future piglets can get away from their mother's monstrous bulk if she threatens, inadvertently, to squash her young.
Getting home from picking up the new weaners, I rush round feeding the sheep and putting away the geese and ducks before heading back to ear tag the weaners and put them in their new pen. But there, in the duck pen is an immaculate but rather flat looking duck. Dead as a dodo.
My guess is that as this was the beginning of the laying season and we've had, as everyone knows, a cold spell, that she was egg bound. She looked fine this morning. I never thought about picking up each duck to see if they were overheated...they all looked so well.
So, new movements both on and off the farm. Spring and all its excitements of life and death is announcing that it's very nearly here.