Sunday, 24 July 2011

Bluebell and Snowdrop. A Curly Tale.

It was two years ago that I had to make the decision that the two Gloucester old spot pigs, Bluebell and Snowdrop had to go. It wasn't an easy decision, and I was worried what George would think about it, because it was his idea to have them in the first place.
I have to admit that the idea appealed to me too. I had seen pictures of Gloucester old spots. They looked so happy, living an idyllic life in their little orchard.
I forgot that I don't have an orchard. Not for the first time where animals are concerned I allowed my heart to rule my head.
The thing is they didn't remain as cute little piggy wiggies for long. They grew enormous in a very short space of time.
They were free ranging, and this plot of mine was beginning to look like a battle field. They just love to dig.
They looked so sweet and innocent when they first arrived.
When it rained they churned the place up so much that a lot of the time they were knee deep in mud. I know pigs are supposed to like mud, but I was worried about their welfare.
We made them an area of hard standing and confined them to it when it got really wet, but it didn't seem right to keep them confined. They had to go.
When we first got them the intention was that they would be slaughtered when they had reached the appropriate size. I know how nice free range pork tastes, and looked forward to being self sufficient in meat.
Really it is not a good idea to give a name to any animals which are destined for the table. It is not a good idea to take them for walks. It is not a good idea to bath them. It is not a good idea to tickle their tummies. It is not a good idea to introduce them to visitors who say, "aaah".  It is not a good idea to start thinking of them as family pets.
Despite the fact that when we first acquired them, it was on the strict understanding that eventually they would have to go for slaughter, somehow, when I mentioned it was time, the rules were suddenly different.
Apparently what I had agreed to was that Bluebell and Snowdrop would be brought to the boar, and that the resulting litters would then be sold for meat. I cannot recall saying this but it seems I am quite forgetful at times.
So they stayed for about four years causing havoc. Luckily I was able to avoid them meeting with the boar. The thought of lots more little piggies adding to the battleground was too much to even contemplate.
Eventually though my commonsense prevailed, and George and his Mum saw that I just did not have enough space, or money, to keep them. Yes success!
No not really. I had to agree that Bluebell and Snowdrop would not be killed, and that I would find them a home where the new owner would not kill them either. In other words I had to find them a home where they would be able to live out their lives in free ranging happiness.
Who is going to agree to give a home for life to two of the biggest pigs you ever saw? Who is going to be that daft?
Well, there was someone, and Bluebell and Snowdrop are happily ensconced in their new home on a small holding not too far away.
They have both had litters. It is wonderful to see them so happy. It is wonderful to know that they are not on my plot.
Do you know what? I am ever so glad that I never got to eat them. I am ever so glad that I am what is commonly known around here as 'an old softie'.


  1. Now are you sending me a message? Don't give the snake a name?......Too late!
    Just what I need, a couple of pigs to help me dig up my garden for a vege patch! Haha! Maa

  2. .....and that is why I am vegan!
    Jane x

  3. We had a pet pig Hortense who my husband thought we would eventually eat. Fooled him! He was a truck driver and gone on the road all week. The kids and I took care of Hortense. As she grew so did our feelings for her. Needless to say he never got to eat her.

  4. The piglets look so beautiful. I love pigs but I know I couldn't eat an animal that I'd raised. I'd never have made a farmer's wife!

  5. Another great anecdote. I'm glad you didn't eat them too.

  6. Que maca la foto dels porquets , sobre tot la que van nets !! :)
    Salutacions .

  7. Oh you old softy you, and that's just great by me. Glad those piggies found a home where they will happily live out their lives.

  8. Aw... that is great. I managed to raise chickens once and then kill and dress them, but I am sure I couldn't do it with a mammal. Despite being raised in a hunting and farm society, I just get too attached to animals, and it gets worse the older I get.

  9. I was just telling someone today that I would have trouble killing any animal for food. I could do it if necessary, but I'm glad there are grocery stores.

  10. I'm so glad you found a good home for them and they will remain 'non-edible' I admit, I like my meat but will not eat anything cute like lamb or veal. That just grosses me out.

  11. I've heard that the worse thing you can do with animals that are destined for slaughter is to give them names, but I guess it's really easy to do it, especially when they're young and cute. I'm glad you found a new home for the ladies x

  12. I had friends who had a vietnamese pot bellied pig. It followed them around and came running when they called it. ...Glad you saved your little piggys bacon

  13. I would never have been able to eat something that I had given a name to either. How lucky that you found someone to take them that would honor the terms