Sheila has trotter trouble

The day before yesterday Sheila pulled up lame, by that afternoon she was not walking at all.

hog sleeping

This happens to Sheila sometimes, she had been out in the field and I think she trips on the ruts, or the coming rain upsets her bones but usually it is the hip that was gouged by the boar. This time it was a front hoof.  Pigs are long and very finely balanced. A three legged pig does not hop along like a dog does. A three legged pig is like a bridge trying to walk, it can’t. So she lay down and by yesterday morning she had been lying down for way too long. limping-002

I treated her with her usual three aspirin and 6 arnica in an apple three times a day. Handfeeding her only fruit and vegetables and milk. This time I sat by her belly and stroked her and told her to roll over until she wriggled right on to her side and stuck all four feet out. Gently I explored the painful foot as we talked quietly to each other. She told me where it hurt, grunting and wincing so through-out the day we repeated this with me stroking the whole leg with whispery fingertips, brushing tissue thin fingertip runs down the swollen joint, out through the toes,  then flicking my fingers in the air. I have always done it like this.  Drawing the pain away.  It is important to shake your fingers after each stroke so the pain does not store itself in your own joints. (That sounds very weird written down but it makes perfect sense to me who knows where I learnt it.)  Once while I was doing this, sat into her belly, Poppy came up from the other side and lay her head onto Sheila. She stood there with her head rested on Sheila’s upturned side, quietly watching. Sheila and I talked to each other for a while and soon we heard a soft snore. Poppy was fast asleep, standing up, eyes closed, head laid heavily on Sheila. TonTon laid at her side. Both fast asleep.

“Kids.” snorted Sheila, stretching her leg out. Though technically Ton is older than Sheila it always surprises me that anyone is older than Sheila at all.

Late yesterday afternoon I went in with a bowl of fruit and milk for Sheila, up until  then she had been eating and drinking lying down. I passed a mountain of steaming poo (2 days worth) and smiled happily. Sheila lifted her head and smiled as well. She had been up, accomplished her toilet and then limped back to bed. Good Sheila. limping-016

By yesterday evening she was standing up and using the walls of the corridor as a crutch as she limped slowly along to the big water barrel. Sliding along like an old lady with her hand on the banister.

The thing with Sheila is when I say Good Girl Sheila she lifts her head to look me in the eye. She hears me encouraging her, and tries harder so I say it again. She wants to get it right. She has a way with her this pig. limping-019

Later she stood to eat, she went down into a kneel after a while but is definitely improving. She is such a big girl for such little trotters. limping-045

I worked in the barns all day yesterday. I am well again and more than happy to be back outside.  Our John was home for the day so he helped with the heavy work and anything that needed a drill and two people, he put new windows into the West barn and changed all the spent light bulbs in both barns. grim-026

So now we have light. I worked on closing up both barns and securing all the doors for the coming cold. Layering more straw into the beds. Filling up the waters. We had a lovely warm spell. Not like this time last year.   And look where I was the year before that.  And this  from 2011.  Goodness we have been around a while you and I.


Not you though Elsie. You are a new member, still watching you are. Its hard being the new guy.


Good morning. I am off out to see how Sheila is. I think she will just keep on getting better now. I will  let you know how she is in the Lounge of Comments.

old barn

I hope you all have a lovely day.

Love your friend on the farmy,





52 Comments on “Sheila has trotter trouble

  1. Oh Lord, and once she’s down it’s hard work for her to haul up all that large Sheilaness. As you say, very small and dainty feet for such a traditionally built girl. I think you need to pass on that pain drawing skill. I could use some of that on my hip joint… But I get along OK on my own trotters so long as I don’t sit still too long: a lesson here, I think!

  2. We used to use Iceman gel on lame horse fetlocks. Not sure if you can use it on Pigs? Amazing how pleasing that first pile of steaming poo is when an animal has been down. Hope Sheila keeps improving. Laura

  3. It’s always so heartwarming when you describe the caring of the other animals when one of theirs is down with an ache or pain. I agree with Kate as well…you must have magic in those fingers.

  4. I know I’m a softy, but you nearly brought tears to my eyes with your description of your hands on pain removal process, and Sheila’s responses. I just love that!

  5. Oh no, poor Sheila! She’ll need a foot bath of hot water and mustard. I should never have bought those gammon knuckles from the butcher this morning 😉

  6. Is Sheila still on her diet plan? As we know, being overweight for animals, just like humans, is not a good thing! Sure hope she is cruising around again soon! XO

    • sheia is on the most perfect pig diet, fruit and veges and hay and a little non fat grain and not too much of it.. but pigs never stop growing. c

  7. You certainly have a trusting friend in that pig, Cecilia. And as for Poppy and Ton Ton nodding off, really! Maybe you’d make a good hypnotist!!! Hope that your lovely lassie recovers soon.

  8. Have you ever tried warm, very wet towels soaked in epsom salts (magnesium chloride) and water? I don’t know whether other mammals are ok with it, but it works wonders for a lot of people problems. xo

    • Yes, as Susan says—damp, warm heat is lovely to all swollen joints. For some reason, the dampness makes all the difference.
      I love your description of your massage and getting her to turn. It can’t be good for large animals to lay in one position for too long. Wishing for 4-footedness again soon!

      • A wad of epsom salts wrapped in a cloth and soaked in hot water can be used like a poultice to draw any infection. I have used it on the horses when they get a hoof abcess. Works very well, with the horses it’s usually epsom salt dumped in a bucket of hot water and the hoof placed in the bucket. Not too much wetting of the hide that way.

  9. It was interesting to go back and see those of the Fellowship who have been with you for all those years! Did you every write the story of how you and your John met?

  10. Sheila is made of strong stuff like our Celi. May you both bounce back to full health in double quick time. Godot is really teasing you as he takes to the air. Give it time and you will get that shot you want!

  11. That will make interesting reading!
    Poor Sheila, but she is a plucky piggie, so full of character, and she makes everyone smile…so it is very sad when she is poorly..Get well Sheila , if its your trotters maybe you should have boots for support

  12. I hope Sheila continues to get better today. I wore my Sheila shirt today to the gym and I think it gave me more strength to do those wretched shoulder and back exercises. When I was finished, I patted her picture and said thank you, Sheila. 🙂 As I did my pre dawn walk this morning, I heard two owls conversing, one baritone and one alto. Perhaps they were discussing the rain that is coming our way later today. The larger of the two took flight from his high up perch after I walked by. So majestic and beautiful. Have a wonderful day C.

  13. Your post title worried me so I am happy to hear of our dear Sheila’s improvement. I do the same thing with my hands when doing healing work on both animals and humans. Happy Wednesday!

  14. The composition of the barn door pix is quite nice. Abstract art if you squint…that what those painters did – don’t let anyone fool you about them and their intellectual analysis ( giggles)
    Poor Sheila. Cold and wet is difficult for joints. She is plucky. Big pigs on their tiny hooves always look like women on ultra high heels. All the pressure is bound to cause difficulties once in a while.
    People use rubs and ointments on old joints – she can’t wear wool leg warmers over the ointment(now that would be a sight), but could human ointments work or must they be piggy ones?

  15. Gosh, Kupa and Mama haven’t even been gone a year. Seems like so much longer. I’m glad your weather warmed up a bit. I know what “they” say, but I hope you don’t get that terrible freeze from last year.

  16. Sheila has a wonderful heart and soul as I can tell through your stories about her! What a great friend you are to her. Here’s
    to the healing!!!

  17. Ooh I hope Sheila is better fast fast fast. Love how she lifts her head and looks you straight in the eye and listens. It relieves me, too,when I hear John is home for the day.

  18. The flicking fingers thing makes perfect sense to me too, as I do it is well. I smiled at your lovely circle of healing complete with Poppy & Ton. The barn does seem brighter, and you as well. It’s good to have company, to tick off a few more jobs and I’m hoping the preparations will ward off such tough winters as in the past… somewhat illogical I know but the positive intention is there 🙂

  19. I am happy to read that both you and Sheila are on the mend. Great shots today, it’s clear your energy and creative vision have returned. I see Godot is still playing hard to get even with new light bulbs to help. It must be wonderful to have such a beautiful graceful white bird in a big shadowy old barn. Looking forward to reading that Sheila is fully up and about in the next few days.

  20. Best news: that your yourself feel better! Nothing wrong with your immunity it seems! Secondly it took me half the post to breathe a sigh of relief re Sheila: thought you had another major problem you did not need and just for Yuletide . . . C’mon Sheila!! Third: [:) ! not that many are still reading – ‘itis’ always means inflammation – a ‘bursa is the fluid-filled covering of bones joining so they do not rub and wear upon one another: thus ‘bursitis’ – Debra may not be the happiest of campers with seemingly her right ankle [?] giving her hell: all the best lady – had it last year in my knee . . .

  21. I’ve held off commenting, hoping to get some good news about Sheila. I do hope she continues to improve, Celi. You, too. No relapses now for either of you!
    The warm days are gone now but they sure were nice while they lasted. Wouldn’t it be nice if they came back for a couple of days in January? Fingers crossed, eh? Have a great night, Celi.

  22. What a beautiful healing story. I learned hands on (off) healing too and about flicking away the energy. It all makes sense.

  23. Read your more recent post and glad Sheila’s feeling better! Domesticating animals really does call us into caring for them on a more profound level than most realize. Blessings to you, Ms. C.

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