I rarely read The Times, but I was travelling by train yesterday and a copy was shoved into my hand. Flicking through, there was yet another article telling the urban world how they could have their own good life with the aid of a back garden (and tolerant neighbours).
I read it in the light hearted fashion in which it was offered to the reader. I love the thought of hen coops scattered across urban sprawls, providing eggs and entertainment for families, and an insight into animal welfare and food production, but then Tom Whipple moved on to the marvellously bonkers notion of keeping pigs, cows, sheep and goats in a city backyard.
It was the piggy bits that had me rolling my eyes and hoping none of Tom's readers would contact me for a weaner.
Pigs DON'T reach meat weight at 12-16 weeks. 26 weeks is the minimum, and I take the Berkshires to 32 weeks. This means large animal in small garden, not cutesy wee piglet that would fit on two plates. I can just see the happy couple picking up an eight week old weaner in the back of the car (illegal) and carrying it through the house to pop it into an old dog kennel in the garden, and then the scratching of heads 18 weeks later as they contemplate huge beastie having to be corralled through french windows, past the sofa, negotiating the hallway and front door to a trailer they don't have to an abattoir they can't find.
The best bit was the comment that "most local abattoirs will help with slaughter". I had visions of said couple girding their loins to stick pig with knife as the slaughterman helpfully holds pig still.
Ah well, knock the good life if you must, but in the right environment (so NOT the city garden), with the right information and skills, it's a great life. In the city, keep to bees, hens and ducks unless you have a city farm.