I came home from a rugby coaching course at 3pm today. I went out for a quick check of the animals, all the pigs and all the poultry looked okay, so I went inside.
At 5.30pm, I went out to feed the pigs and found one of the finished gilts—due to go to slaughter in eight days—was sitting in the field, breathing stentoriously.
I nipped back to the house, told the Other Half and jumped in the Land Rover, driving it out to the field to give myself some light. By then, the pig had collapsed and was lying down.
The pig had a slightly elevated temperature—but it’s below freezing and that probably depressed the pig’s core temperature. Aside from the breathing and weakness, there were no other symptoms.
While the OH stayed with the pig, I went back to the house and phoned the vet with the symptoms. The vet thought it was likely the pig had a rapid onset pneumonia and offered to stay at the surgery so one of us could go and collect a syringe of a suitable antibiotic.
I returned to the field to ask the OH if she could drive to the surgery, only to find the pig had died. A fine, active and happy pig—dead in a matter of hours.
All there was left to do was to phone the vet to tell her she could go home, get our neighbour over to help load the pig in our Land Rover, and close everything up for the night.
It’s quite a blow for us as we had three finished pigs ready to go for slaughter: one to pay the slaughter, butchering and transport costs; one to fill our freezer for the next year; and one to recoup the money spent on feed over the past couple of months. That recouped money was our Christmas and boys’ birthday funds.
So, we either sell our freezer pig to have money for Christmas or we fill the freezer with pork and accept it’s going to be a very skint Christmas and birthdays. Or we put half in the freezer and sell half to have a small Christmas/birthday fund. Decisions, decisions.
Crofting definitely has its ups and downs.