I realised yesterday that we have started our annual fundraising for Sheila and yet some of our newer readers will not know why.
Sheila is a very special pig. I have collected some older photos of her for you to show you how special.
Sheila is a Hereford Pig. The Hereford swine are still listed as a rare pig. The more commercial breeds have very quickly pushed out the older heritage slower growing breeds of pigs. Heritage is to meat what heirloom is to vegetables. And the Herefords are one of the more unusual heritage breed .
Sheila came here with her sister Charlotte as piglets.
Charlotte got pregnant first but during her pregnancy and after farrowing she became fierce with us and with Sheila. She became a dangerous pig to have on such a little property. And Sheila started choosing not to sleep in the same space as her. So she had to leave. After Charlotte left Sheila lived on her own in the sun room of the barn with a nice little field and spent most of her time tottering around after me as I did my chores.
We thought she would be lonely but she had cats who slept with her, Ton was always by her side because she is always so gentle and kind. And of course she had me. I can lie down next to Sheila and sleep – she doesn’t mind. She used to carry her food bowl to the fence, then stand back for me to fill it. (Now Poppy does all the carrying) but Sheila still waits quietly until her bowl is filled, watching my face, and when I step back she will eat.
It was indicative of Sheila that she would adopt Poppy, a runt piglet who was very ill when she came. It is unusual for an older pig like Sheila to adopt a piglet but she did and it has worked out well for both of them. So now she is not alone. And they are the best of friends, though Poppy is still literally running rings around us.
She spends time every evening carrying loose straw and any uneaten hay across to her bed then rucks it up with her feet until it is nice and deep and soft. She lies down in her bed every night and lets me cover her up with more straw and a blanket when it is cold. Only when I am done and she gets her last pat and Ni Ni Sheila does she grunt. She grunts in two descending syllables. Once. I swear she says Ni Ni back. She only makes that sound at night time. Every time. She will follow me anywhere and never runs away. She has a different greeting for each of her human friends, different sounds completely.
She never came into heat and has never bred. We took her to a boar once and she attacked the Boar. he of course launchedd his tusks at her and she ended up with a baadly gored thigh. She had a long recovery in the worst winter I have ever seen.Do you remember this one . And we tried everything we collectively knew to bring her in but she never did. And the people who know about these things say it is unlikely that she will ever come into heat now.
Well, this is a farm. It is not a zoo. Every animal and bird has a reason on a farm. It is expensive both in space, feed and vet bills to keep an animal who does not perform. Usually they are sold off the farm for the farms sake. The bottom line is very thin some years.
But The Fellowship and I decided that we would keep Sheila as a pet. And she would be the poster pig for our calender and I would make a T shirt to pay for her feed. She is a special kind of pig. Albeit a very large pet. She is a good girl.
In the summer she lives on pasture and garden scraps with a little grain once a week or so, so she is cheap to run in the summer. But in the winter she eats hay, fruit and vegetables and a little more grain. And all the grazing and all the gardens are under a sheet of ice so we have to buy her food. She is on a strict vegetarian diet, that I can track, getting all her protein from eggs that I pop into her mouth one after the other and milk. So she needs a very good diet that will not make her fat so she lives a long time. In the winter I buy apple, carrots and pumpkins and potatoes, and piles of fruit and green vegetables – and collect old vegetables from stores which Sheila can eat and restaurants (which she usually cannot eat) and believe it or not Sheila LOVES kale but is not allowed deep fried anything.
The people that know such things tell me she is about 600 pounds now. She stands as high as my waist and is about 6 feet long and is almost 3 years old. This is not a little pig. And pigs keep growing until they die. So we need to make sure she is well nourished but not OVER fed.
And that is why Sheila gets to work, at this time of year, posing for her photos, so I can make the calenders and T shirts. The calenders and the Tshirt are her contribution to the farm. And I hope with this special lean high vegetable diet she will live a long, long time. I ask many pig farmers how long a pig can live and they shrug their shoulders. We will just have to wait and see they say. And so we will.
Above you will see a new page called Calendars.. if you would like one.. (they will be around 22 dollars each plus postage – this depends on the number ordered.) Please leave your name and how many you want in the page above (under menu). The pictures are not only of Sheila they cover almost every animal and bird from the farm in 2014. So I am sure your favourites will be there. I am very pleased with it.
Here is the link to the T shirt
I hope you have a lovely day,
Sheila will! I love my big fat pig.
Lots of love to you from Sheila and
She’s a very special pig 🙂
Do you see the big scar (above) on her rump from the run in with the Boar? Dear old Sheila… c
Poor thing – I’m sure she decided not to have babies after seeing Charlotte turn mean.
She is our Auntie.. c
…and Poppy is more than enough to handle 🙂
Pigs can be such sweet adorable animals, as your Sheila certainly is! Jack absolutely loves his pigs too! xo
Some are good and some are bad.Some are clever and some quite stupid. Just like people really.. How are your piglets?.. c
The piglets are absolutely adorable!!! We have 13 of them! One, that we will register, is going to Oklahoma with its new owner a week from Friday. And we think at least 3 more, unregistered, have new homes. It would be wonderful to sell most of them before the cold weather arrives. The fewer mouths to feed over the winter, the better! 🙂
Good for you selling so many.. THIRTEEN is a fair wack.. bet they are gorgeous.. how does it feel to be a pig farmer?!
You know Celi, I never, ever figured in all my life I’d be a pig farmer!!! I’m actually getting used to the idea…and the fact that I now am!!! 🙂
Sheila is a great character. I ordered a T-shirt for my younger grandson – the postage is horrendous, so I decided 1 was enough! Older grandson is swanning around in Australia with his Dad – 1 day the Melbourne Cup, then a week-long music festival and now they’re on the Great Barrier Reef.
Thank you ViV.. that tacked on postage might be too dreadful.. if you want to order any more have them sent to me and I will send them on to you.. or would that be much cheaper? c
Cecilia…find out from Viv what they are charging her for postage and we will compare here at the PO
OK darling!.. c
Getting to know Sheila certainly has caused me to change my preconceived ideas of pigs 🙂 Laura
She is a very unusual pig, one of a kind this girl.. c
Thanks for posting Sheila’s story – now I see she’s not just another pin-up girl!
I love learning, which life on the farm really encourages! Even though we have pigs, I did not know they keep growing until they die. And I assume you mean not just getting heavier… If Sheila is up to your waist, how tall are you? I bet I am not the only one in the Fellowship that would love to see a picture of you and Sheila together!!?? 🙂
Whales do too! The female pig will slow down but she will still advance in size (not only girth) until she dies. Boars of course keep growing at a faster rate. Kangaroos as well.. go figure!..c
C – what if I were to want to just make a Sheila donation also? Good fortune found me this weekend and I have a spare bit o’ change – not much – 2 t-shirts, but I want to spread some love to Sheila this winter. And I do think just One t-shirt with a piggie is enough for my wardrobe.
Oh Pat, that is such a kind thought, pop it in the mail P.O. Box 255, Cullom, 60929 and i will buy add bananas to her grocery list for a few months! Thank you.. c
Oh this is such a good idea, the postage would be horrendous to Australia too, then I thought of my grandchildren who are in Ohio, but they’re now all cool teens, and what a waste if they didn’t wear them, so I’ll make a donation. Do you have Paypal Celi,? I can do it that way.
Oh goodness Nanette, are you sure? That would be wonderful.. Mercy, Sheila will be eating like a Queen, the queen she is! My paypal is the same as my email.. firstname.lastname@example.org.. how kind you are.. thank you.. c
I’m pay paling also. 😉
Are there shots of Tima, too? Girl-child has fallen in love with pigs. Pigs you don’t eat. She’s a vegetarian.
Tell her Sheila is a vegetarian too. I will get a shot of Tima today for you!
She’s in love with Tima.
I’m so glad the T-shirts are here! I’m ordering mine soon! C. Can you have someone snap a photo of you and Sheila together just so we can see a size comparison? It’s so hard to imagine a 600 lb. pig! And besides we’d love to see a photo of Sheila and Miss C together. BFF’s! ☺️🐖
I will do what i can but you know i am camera shy!..c
Sheila’s story is special, and one I can only relate from my very limited experience with pigs but was special… the people who now own my grandparents old farm are animal rescuers and they have the much loved Portia the pig… who I had the pleasure of meeting and sharing dessert with. I’m not sure what breed Portia is. She was not a small pig but she was gentle. There was a media article about her as Anne her owner leaves the radio on for her as Portia likes in summer to listen to the cricket! As soon as I can remember my PayPal password, I’ll place a t-shirt order 🙂
Sheila had the radio for a while too until Poppy climbed the gate, yes she climbs! .. reached over and pulled out the cord and ate it.. next radio I find will be placed much futrther away.. I love that portia liked the cricket.. how nice that you family farm is for rescued animals.. c
Sheila’s such a gorgeous girl. Her vital statistics are impressive. I love her from afar. There’s what looks like a stray leg in the top pic of Sheila – is it Poppy standing on one leg? (Or maybe I should be wearing my glasses…)
Poppy is so little she is dwarfed! It does look like Sheila has five legs!.. c
Woohoo! Just ordered my Sheila shirt.
I love this story! Goof for you for putting her to work as a model so you can justify keeping her around.
My husband and I call say Ni Ni to our dogs all the time and I want to show him your story but I’m afraid he’d want to get a pig!
I am home again, relief. Sheila is well deserving of her t-shirt and calendar. She is a special pig, very polite, even with strangers like me. She also makes a good aunty for Poppy, very protective, even while Poppy runs circles around everything. The current calendar hangs above my computer at work and I smile every time I look at it. This new calendar will find its way to my wall and another for a dear friend as a thank you. Can’t wait to see it.
Since I go ‘back’ to almost the Sheila and Charlotte ‘beginning’ how lovely to enjoy the whole story again both in word and picture! Thank you!! [Remember you taking the pair of them as babies for their ‘walkies’ . . .] Am not quite a T-shirt model since my mastectomy and seem to have ‘collected’ over a dozen 2015 calendars from all the orgs to which I belong and firms I buy from already, so methinks I’ll also try my PayPal account a little later to wish Sheila a very merry Christmas 🙂 ! Can’t see why I should subsidize the across-Pond mail system 🙂 !!
You have been in the fellowship for a while then, isn’t time a funny thing, sometimes it is fast and sometimes it is slow. Sheila seems to have been here longer than three years really.. and if you would like to paypal that would be lovely gift, though Sheila and i are just so grateful to have you on our team. c
I’m warming up to Sheila. My brother will like the Teeshirt .
3 years already? Has it been that long? I can’t believe it! I never would have guessed she’d grow so big And yet she remains so gentle with you. I hope the t-shirt campaign is a success, Celi. I’ve ordered ours. Last year you printed a separate Spring calendar. Will you be doing that again this year? Let me know and I’ll order accordingly. 🙂
No I think we will stick to once a year now for the calendars.. there are only so many calendar worthy shots.. so christmas will be calendar time.. as long as they get them printed in time.. c
I ordered my t-shirt when you first posted about it! I am so glad you gave us some history on Sheila. I am one of those newbies who did not know her story… but it didn’t matter to me. I’ve loved Sheila all along. She reminds me a bit of myself! The good and loving Auntie! 🙂
Aunties are precious.. c
It’s so nice to have a recap on Sheila’s story. It would be a good thing to do with other animals also.
It was nice to see the pictures again, Sheila and little Poppy snuggling, holding her bowl, etc.