Four little piglets in Alekovo

Four little piglets

In Livestock, Updates by Nick2 Comments

Today saw the realisation of a dream/fantasy Nick has had for over 35 years – that is to own a pig!  They are our first livestock and we hope that they will lead a good life, eat well and enjoy themselves digging up large areas of our land (and manuring it as they go) so we can plant some great crops that will feed them and us and all the other livestock and poultry.

Four little pigletsin Alekovo

“Once upon a time there were four baby girl pigs. The piggie sisters were born on a friendly little farm on the edge of a village called Palamartsa (near Popovo) and they lived with 20 or so other little piglets on the farm that belongs to a very nice, friendly and kind couple called Lisa and Paul.  One day a big hairy faced man with funny wellies and a funny hat on, from Alekovo near Svishtov, turned up at their farm with his son and bought the 4 sisters, and stuck them in a big wooden box in the back of his car, together with a few bags of baby pig food.”The four little pigs - an Alekovo Anecdote

Our first pig house

“About an hour later the little piggies arrived at the funny man’s home. They were lifted out of the box and put into a pen in a field that had strange white tape around the edges – and boy did that tape give the pigirls a shock if they touched it! The man and his son (and some friends) had built a nice big house for them, all filled with a thick layer of straw and some juicy hay, which they seemed to love.”The four little pigs - an Alekovo Anecdote

There’s no doubt that at this age and size they are very cute and playful – I can watch them for hours – and they already enjoyed being scratched behind their ears or down their flanks.  Feeding them 3 times a day at the moment provides lots of opportunities to observe and learn more about them and their behaviour. As they continue to grow it will be important to try to get them to bond with us to make it easier to move them around or follow us  or simply behave when we are around them.  I can imagine a 100kg pig that doesn’t want to do what you want it to could be a real pain!

Day 1 hand feeding the piglets

“Later that day the man’s son crawled into their house and started feeding them apples that their lovely old neighbour lady, Nyedelka, had given them.  They loved this and one even started to take some apple from the young man’s hand.The four little pigs - an Alekovo Anecdote

They are definitely not going to be raised in the traditional Bulgarian way (in a pigsty with no space to roam or root or run). Our goal is to use the pigs natural instincts for finding food and keep moving them around to “plough” and fertilise areas ready for planting – maybe moved to a new area every week. We also hope in the spring to put them in a much larger area – about 3/4 of an acre that is pretty wild and uncultivated – with a few goats and the poultry all ranging together.  That’s the dream, we will see!

Day 1 hand feeding the piglets

By the end of the day the hairy faced man and his son had named each of the piglets: One was called Black Betty (‘cos she is black and its a name from a good song) and the others they called Snap, Crackle and Pop – because those are the noises that bacon and sausages make in the frying pan!”The four little pigs - an Alekovo Anecdote

Before anyone asks – yes, at least 3 of the pigs will eventually be humanely slaughtered and all that hard work, and lots of food from the land, will be converted into delicious joints, chops, bacon, sausage, hams and other stuff (hopefully, when we learn how). Once again, unlike our Bulgarian pig owner friends (and indeed many pig owners) we don’t want to set an age to slaughter them, or a specific weight – we will see how things go.  But certainly next Christmas (2017) I plan to have a ham hanging from the kitchen beams!

And, depending on how her character develops and our general experience, we may keep Black Betty and try to raise our own litter of piglets next year to see if it is worth the trouble, and whether we can cope/manage or not. Like so much that we are learning to do, we are very happy to wait and see how it all turns out. Anyway, must go – time to feed the pigs!

Comments

  1. Did you ever manage to find mangalitza pigs for sale in Bulgaria. I have tried but haven’t been successful so I am contemplating brings some in from Serbia. I was also hoping to locate Large Black pigs which are perfect for what we have set up here which is 5 deka which is fenced with mesh and electric fences where we are running free range Bulgarian whites at the moment as well as rabbits with a lot of success. A word of warning is that your three lil white pigs are in danger of sunburn in the summer. Each day I rub sun screen on our which they love.

    1. Author

      Hi Greg, good to hear from you again. No I never found any Mangalitzas here. I did see some wild boar piglets for sale in Montana but I wasn’t here go get them. Also the Durocs I thought were local to me have all been “converted” this year. I’d still be very interested to hear how you get on if you import – and then I’d have to signup for a breeding pair from your first litter ;-). Sounds like you’ve got a good setup – where are you again? And thanks for the sunburn advice – I had read that in several places and the breeder we got our 4 girls from also mentioned it.

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