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Frogwell Fings - February / March 2009

Hi everybody, Boss has finally found a few minutes to take down my trotterhand. My diary was supposed to be monthly but boss is so busy on the farm and with his other projects, he never seems to get the time to listen to my ramblings.


Iím not looking forward to tomorrow because I have got a big lump come up on my ear so he is calling in the vet Dave. All I know is that means injections and they hurt - still this ear is driving me crazy, it itches. Boss had to renovate my quarters this week, silly bugger put a turf roof on my house and didnít allow for the weight of the vegetation. So all the lads were in with me while they put up this timber beamy thing in the middle and then jacked it up to take the sag out. They then cleaned me right out and Boss then discovered I had put my foot through the floor in four places. He had  initially tried to cheat and use flimsy ĺĒ floorboards not the real 1Ē thick timber he sends out with his ark floors. I knew I would go through it when he first put it down last year - that will teach him to take shortcuts with his own stock !! All done now -  unsaggy roof; new floor; oiled; wormed and lovely new bedding.  Iím a happy pig except for this ear. Didnít like the way they made me go outside while they worked. I only wanted to help, to me buckets should have food in them Ö NOT full of nails -  how was I supposed to know !!!


I reckon he is pleased with me, one of my wives just had seventeen piglets. He is never happy though cause there was so many she lost three straight away because they were so small. He prefers them to have smaller litters and rear more. All I know is Iím doing my job !!


Dave the vet came today. I was really good and stood still while he pushed and poked and evidently it was a benign cyst and it would go down on its own WITH NO INJECTIONS - Yippee.


Iím really busy now. He has just weaned three sows, he puts them straight in with me and I knock them around till they come into season usually about a week - what a life I have got !!



New additions on the farm are Sasso meat chickens. Boss has the first batch under a heat lamp; he has been watching River Cottage and he is going to let all these outside once they have their feathers, stupid creatures. My babies are out in the field with their mums within days of being born, they do have lamps in the fixed houses but not always in the arks. He has made up a new farrowing ark with a back door and where there isnít electric he makes up an old fashioned haybox affair where the piglets can go away from the sow and keep warm. When there is electric close by, he uses a lamp and it works a treat. He starts the piglets off on solid food early in the back of this special ark. He always had a problem with this before - he knew he had to get the young uns eating early but he found it impossible; whatever he did the sow always got the food intended for the babies.



Going back to these chickens, Boss is going to put the Hotline poultry netting around them to keep the fox away, he hopes !! I see all sorts up here when heís not here. I donít think he has ever lost a piglet to a fox - my wives are really protective.



What else has he got - loads and loads of khaki Cambell egg laying ducks - I think he plans to sell these and the chickens when they are older - if he doesnít he will be eating chicken forever !!




He still has his donkeys, Jack and Jill (very original names). They had a foal last year, she is really pretty but boss canít get near her - she is for sale Ö Hint Hint readers! But who is going to buy a wild donkey ? He had to put up one of his field shelters in the field below me - all that work and expense for three donkeys and a mad cow. She is a Hereford cross about 14 months old, boss reared her from a calf and now she is really tame. She is supposed to go to the freezer at the end of the summer but I canít see that happening - I think boss will put her to the bull and when she has a calf, buy another to put on her - he is too soft. He doesnít care about eating my babies - double standards going on here!!


The cow is a looney - I see her leaping and running around when Boss is locking the geese away, who share the same field. Boss looked quite terrified when she came charging towards him, she did stop about 18Ē from him Ė itís his own fault. He feeds the geese some old bread to get them into their house but made a fatal mistake of giving the donkeys and the cow some. It is some sight to see every night boss chasing the geese and being chased by three donkeys and a cow!



I love watching all this going on - last week he bent over and crawled into the goose ark to get the eggs, he wasnít paying attention and all I saw was boss reversing out of the ark with an irate gander attached to his rear end. He grabbed its head and it promptly batted him around the head with its wing - the goose went into orbit and learnt how to fly and the air was blue for fifteen minutes.


And they say us boars are dangerous !! The only time Iím ratty is when one of my girls is ready for mating, nobody dares come into my pen then. I must admit I do look awesome especially when I do my frothing at the mouth and foot scraping trick that always gets them going.

  Best Gilt thatís her name has just had a litter in one of those Carbery arks right next door to me - the babies come wandering in to see me but I never hurt them, itís amazing every customer of bosses wants females to rear but in this litter there are 9 boys and 2 girls - boss calls it the law of sod whatever that means.


I donít understand a lot of what I hear but evidently those lovely Carbery arks are made in Southern Ireland and they have a different sort of money to us and because their money is nearly the same as our money, the prices of the arks have had to shoot up making these arks a lot dearer which is a shame because they are really good.

(Comment by Phil - I told Fred to stick to dictating things he understands but he is on about the value of the euro to the pound which has caused a 30% increase in Carbery products now back to his ramblings.)



Boss had better watch himself interrupting me like that !! What I was going to say was that in life when one door closes another opens and boss did an internetty search thingy for plastic pig arks and he discovered a Scottish company, who make a whole range of pig arks and animal housing out of recycled plastic farm waste. He went up to their head office and brought back a  load of these arks and he is selling them like hot cakes - they even make a tiddly ark for the little pigs like kune kune, pot bellys and miniatures.



As usual I have to test them and they are making up an 8ft x 8ft in the barn tomorrow and bringing it into my field. I can see the mini ark from my field but boss says Iím going to have the large door model because Iím so big. I hope he fits it with the red roof outside because they look really good !!


Boss was looking really glum back in March then we all realised why, the poor old bugger has turned 60. He has cheered up now because missus bought him a greenhouse for his veg patch. He has gone mad - he loves his garden and he has made a whole series of raised beds and he already has loads of vegetables growing, Iím looking forward to it because any waste will come straight up to us pigs and as Iím his favourite I always get more than my fair share !!



My field has finally dried out after that awful winter - boss is putting down hardcore around our pen doors and when he can afford it, he will concrete over the hardcore. He is determined that we wonít go through that again.


This months money saving tip - boss does sell troughs but a good way of making a cheap field feeding trough is to scrounge some 9Ē or 12Ē pipe offcuts from a builder or the council and then slice it in half Ė you then have a perfectly good free field trough. If you feed pellets, it stops me trampling them into the ground. No good for anything wet as it has no ends - unless any of you inventors out there can send in a solution.


Well thatís my ramblings over spring has sprung and boss has finally put 2 or 3 months events into one issue.


Bye fans



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Animal Arks, West Frogwell Farm, Frogwell Road, Callington, Cornwall PL17 7HN Tel: 01579 382743
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