The piglets are ten days old, and it's time to ear notch and turn the new pig family out into the big wide world. Well, into a large paddock with a spacious warm ark made tufty with straw.
Mum is encouraged into the stock box with a scoop of food, the door is shut and the piglets are gently contained in the barn. Each one is picked up and examined. Right number of evenly spaced teats (14)? Good shaped and sturdy body? Well marked for the breed? Properly formed mouth? All pass muster and there are a couple of exceptional ones. As each has their unique number notched into their ear I take them in my arms and cradle them. They sit in my embrace, snug, content, not struggling or squealing. I feel the most overwhelming sense of pride and pleasure. They have hot, strong little bodies and have quadrupled in size since birth. They are calm and happy. The sow is grunting softly, and one by one I put each piglet into the box with her, a separating hurdle between them so she doesn't trample on them as they are transported. In the paddock we pick up each piglet and put it into the back of the ark, deep in straw. The box is opened and Aunt Agatha sways out, looks about and then goes into the ark too. Text book.