You will have to be creative for some of the activities and use what you already have at home and use your imagination.The activity ideas are meant to inspire you – if you would like full instructions please let me know! l have also posted a couple of pictures that need printing off before you can do them – hopefully someone in your house will be able to print it off for you. This time we are taking a look at our piglets.
Farmer Chris and l have always kept pigs mainly because we both love pork ! But they are great fun animals to look after and very sociable and entertaining.We usually just have two pigs a year from when we open in the Spring until we close in late Autumn.By then, where we keep the pigs during the year is usually such a mess that the ground in the Orchard needs to recover and the piece of the field that they have been given needs harrowing and reseeding ready for next time.
On the farm, we have two areas where we keep the pigs.One is in the orchard pen and one is the top of our back field.When the piglets first arrive they are put in the orchard pen.This pen is perfect for them because it is opposite the entrance to the cottages so they can see what is going on and be talked to all the time by us and the guests which they love because pigs are very sociable.Once they have outgrown this paddock Farmer Chris moves them to the corner of the back field where they have a big stretch of grass and are kept in with an electric fence.The pigs sleep in a pig arc which Farmer Chris can move easily with the tractor to whatever pen they are living in.
Our piglets this year were born on Valentines Day,February 14th.Because we were on lock down we couldn’t go and see them.Fortunately we are friends with the farmers that bred them so they sent us lots of photos.They knew that we wanted two gilts(girls)with lots of spots so that ideally we could tell apart.When they delivered them, in mid April, we were delighted to see they were very spotty and one had pink ears and one had black ears.
Ideally, like this year, we buy piglets in as weaners. Weaners are piglets that are usually seven to eight weeks old that have just been weaned off their Mother(sow) – so now instead of milk they eat hard food and grass.The piglets are sisters and Gloucestershire Old Spot x Welsh.They are called Speckle & Freckle. These great names were suggested by Imogen who entered our “Name the piglets competition”. One of the many things we are doing to keep you all busy !
At the moment the piglets are living in the Orchard pen, opposite the cottages.They can see what is going on and get lots of attention from us, and hopefully our guests, when we are open again.Piglets are very sociable and love to be talked to and have their backs scratched. In their paddock they have a pig arc which is a portable outdoor sty which is full of straw.They can get inside in the warm and dry and snuggle and sleep – which they do a lot of. When they aren’t sleeping inside their arc they can be found stretched out, outside, asleep in the sun.Their other favourite pastimes are rooting around the paddock, wallowing and breaking out ! Speckle and Freckle love to root and soon eat all the grass on top.They then turn it over to eat all the roots of the grass, too, so their paddock looks like Farmer Chris has been in there with the his tractor and plough! Pigs also to have to have a water trough with fresh water.Next to the trough Farmer Chris has dug a hole for them which he and his helpers fill with water everyday so the pigs have somewhere to wallow.They love to wallow and get covered in muddy water which cools them down and covers them in mud which acts like a sun cream and protects them from the sun.It also keeps them free of any parasites.As well as eating grass Farmer Chris gives the piglets hard food twice a day and this increases as they get older …..Pigs also love to break out ! They have very strong snouts (noses) and if they can get their noses under any fencing or in any holes they will soon be out ! They then go and dig big holes in the middle of Farmer Chris’ grass fields which aren’t supposed to have holes in.That is supposed to be for the rest of our animals that eat grass -like the lambs,goats,ponies and horses.
The pigs favourite time of year is late summer when the apple trees in their orchard are full of apples.Every morning Farmer Chris and his helpers shake the tree and the piglets eat the apples that fall off.Once the apples are over and Speckle and Freckle are much bigger they will be moved to the corner of the back field where they will have a much bigger area to explore and new grass to eat and root up!
Baby pigs are called piglets,Mummy pigs are called Sows and Daddy pigs are called Boars.
Joke of the week
Q. How do pigs write secret messages ?
A.With invisible oink !
This is a story that l’m sure you have all heard before and probably have at your house.Can you remember what the three pigs built their houses out of ? Maybe you could act out this story or draw a picture of the three pigs with their different houses.
l had never heard of this song before but it is very easy to learn – https://youtu.be/AscFbBYQKic
Or maybe you know another song about a pig that you could sing ? Or you could sing Old Macdonald and he could have some pigs on his farm…… l think l would sing it by changing the words ‘ Old Macdonald’ to ‘Farmer CHRIS !’
We hope you have a good week and get a chance to do some of things we have suggested or it has inspired you to make, draw,read a story or sing about pigs! If you make any of the activities and you would like to share them we would always love to see them. You could always ask very nicely if one of the grown – ups would send a photo to us of what you had made. We might even share it on Facebook.l expect you might have seen some of the other things that other children have been doing on there !
For those of you growing sunflowers with us – l hope they are doing well and don’t forget to water them every day !There is still plenty of time to join in if you want to all the details to enter our – the who can grow the tallest Sunflower competition – are over on our facebook page?
Love Farmer Chris and Tracey x