Doris, one of our Berkshire sows, is now absolutely vast and has bagged up, although her milk is not yet in. She’s due to farrow on Wednesday, so the signs are good that she will be on time, give or take a day. We’ve been enjoying a spell of warm weather—at least by Scottish standards—and an absence of wind so, even with both doors to the byre open, she’s been feeling the heat. The solution is to fill a backpack spray with water and give her a cooling spray three or four times a day, which she absolutely loves!
Doris is now eating five kilograms of sow rolls and barley a day, plus a cubic metre or so of fresh-cut grass. We have a petrol lawn mower that’s ideal for providing fodder pigs when they’re inside like Doris or when they can’t be moved to grassed pens. I simply fire it up, do two 20-metre strips of grass and have a catcher full of fresh grass. One catcher-full is enough for two adult pigs—or one heavily pregnant sow. Interestingly, the pigs eat far more grass when it’s cut for them than when they’re foraging in the fields and pens. I tend not to use the scythe for this because, while the cutting is as quick as the mower, it does take longer to rake all the grass together and load it into the barrow. And as time is at a premium at this time of year, it’s worth using the mower to free up time for other pressing jobs.