Powerless – The Year the Lights Went Out

Friday, January 24 – The tired pig

After I fed the hens this morning I took a few scraps and some ewe nuts across to Itchy, our pet pig, but he was not very interested. Normally he comes running back to his pen, if he is grazing the paddock, as soon as any of us goes over there. He loves his food as well as the grass but today he was still in his shelter. I called to him and he grunted, then came tottering out unsteadily. He came over to his feed bowl and sniffed it then walked away and back to his bed.

I have never seen him behave like this before. The expression ‘eat like a pig’ was created for our pig, just as ‘behaving like sheep’ describes perfectly the way the sheep all stick together. But today our pig is not being a pig, he seems tired and uninterested. I’ve been out to see him every couple of hours during the day and he just wants to lie in his bed. He is not grinding his teeth in pain, which I know from past experience is the way to tell if a pig is in distress. And he is still talkative, uttering soft little chattering grunts, but he simply doesn’t want to be active or hungry today. I have tried taking him some boiled potato peel and even tried to feed him a mash of acorn flour, which I was sure he would love, but he just grunts and says he doesn’t want anything today, thank you.

If I could phone the vet I would, but as I can’t I’m not going to distress him in any way by transporting him all the way to Cranleigh. He is old and he is tired. Maybe he has simply had enough of life, this life that he has spent foraging for acorns, grazing the grassy paddocks, fighting his brother for the best scraps and sometimes chasing stray sheep. So I have tucked a thick covering of straw around him and stroked him on the soft part of his snout and hope he may feel better tomorrow.

The hens happily ate the mash he didn’t want and they were very grateful, giving us four eggs again today.

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