Can you guess who’s arriving next week…?
As far as I know, big bad wolves no longer roam Suffolk, so hopefully this nice metal pig-ark, borrowed from kind farming friends, will keep two piglets safe and cosy.
Yes, next week we are due to get two weaned piglets as a ‘pig share’ – one for us, and one for the friends who lent us the ark. The idea is to grow the pigs on over six months or so, and then eat them. (Apologies to any vegetarian readers). This is a first for me – I’ve never raised an animal to eat before. H has – as a child his family kept geese destined for the freezer. And we’ve eaten a few of the rabbits H has caught in the fields. But this is different, and it’s rather a strange thing. We’re all excited about the arrival of the pigs, and had a happy afternoon putting together the ark and fencing the pig paddock. Yet I know that the two critters who’ll live in it are destined for the table. I have mixed feelings about it – and I think that’s as it should be.
So, why raise animals for meat, and why pigs? Well, we have the space, and I like the idea of being able to raise well-cared for, free-range animals. It makes me happy that my chickens spend their days roaming free over three acres. I can’t give the pigs that much room (the fencing costs would be astronomical), but I hope they will still have a good life, certainly compared with some of the intense farming systems these little piggies may otherwise have ended up in. I also love the idea of reducing our ‘food miles’ as much as possible – and the pigs will be living about 40 metres from the kitchen table. We can already buy well-cared for, local lamb from nearby. And we all love sausages. So – pigs it was.
We’ve talked things through with the kids. They know why the pigs are coming, and that they won’t be here for long. But – how will we all feel when the trailer comes to take the pigs away in the Autumn? I don’t yet know. Maybe we’ll end up with a giant pet pig.