I have shifted Molly out of the back field. Poppy just would not let Molly settle in the field down the back. Molly often had scratch marks and bloody noses from getting into battles with Poppy. These are two big sows so when Poppy goes for Molly it is terrifying.

Usually this all settles down after a few days but here we are weeks after Molly went in with Poppy and Sheila and these huge animals will not be friends. I am afraid they are getting used to fighting which is not a good pattern to get into. I don’t want Poppy to get used to being mean.

Then I saw that Sheila had taken over Molly’s house and Poppy would not let Molly in the root cellar. So Molly was sleeping outside.

It has been a long time since they all lived together these three big girls and I finally called it. Most of the time they are fine but every day there was at least one or two altercations. Molly never fights back just runs. Often bleeding. I got sick of it.

I opened the gate and the first one to come out was Molly so that made my decision.

Molly is my best mother and so I brought her across and settled her in the milking room for this week. She set about making herself an enormous bed and the whole farm sighed with relief. I will do some reshuffling on the West Side and take her over there after her next heat.

The boar, Manu, lives on the West Side and he is an enormous animal. Gentle and biddable but if he has a sow in heat through the wall he only needs to lean on that barn to break it down. So there is always a risk that the boar will break through and breed a sow too early. This is why I keep the the wives on the house side.

January is OK. So we have a few weeks to go. It will be really inconvenient for everyone having Molly in the middle of the barn. I have to lock down the three Grumpy Old Pigs so I can bring Molly out for a toilet break and a walk in the sun twice a day but there you are – we will manage.

And you should see Molly’s bed. She has carried every stray piece of straw into one corner and has a lovely bed.

This does change my rotation, Molly going in with Manu first, but this way she can establish ownership of Manu’s territory. Then when I put Poppy in there 6 weeks later the odds will be a bit more even. And hopefully they settle together over there for the cold months.

In fact speaking of breeding I need to take 73 and 84 the Angus Mamas across to the bull next month, for fall calves next year. I had better set that up.

I hope you have a good day.


29 Comments on “HOG FIGHTS

  1. The number of complications that can arise on a farm clearly outnumber my ability to imagine them. What impresses me is your ability to deal with them. “Hog fights” was a phrase missing from my lexicon until now. Goodness!

  2. I have to keep my rooster separated from my hens…which seems so unnatural but otherwise he hurts them with deep, bloody gashes on the back of their heads and sides. Well it’s mainly the chicken he grew up with, he hasn’t been allowed with the younger chickens yet but seems to ignore them. I’m hoping he outgrows this as it’s a pain to constantly worry about.

  3. Oh it’s so inconvenient and cumbersome when you have to juggle everyone and constantly reconfigure pigs or people like a giant puzzle. Not to mention time consuming!

  4. We had the same situation with two of our sows – every once in a while I would try putting them back together. No dice. The minute I turned my back the cranky one would promptly attack and terrorize the other. And yes – it was a pain in the butt to keep them separate. Once that dynamic is set there’s no changing it.

  5. I remember someone fighting Sheila who had to go. She had a rather grand name which has slipped away from my mind. It seems odd but I have seen it in some of cat families too through the years.

    • You may be thinking of Charlotte/ but she left the property because she was a bad mum and stepped all over her piglets killing a number of them, she was Sheila’s sister.

      • I am mixed up. I thought that was Tahini. She had to go too. I thought Charlotte was disagreeable to Sheila. So many animals over the yrs. at The Farmy, & chez moi – though never any pigs here, alas. I’m glad you’ve sorted it out & resettled Molly.

  6. oh my goodness…..terribly inconvenient but a good solution for sweet Molly! Happy Thanksgiving! xoxoxo

  7. Family dynamics are clearly just as complicated in the animal kingdom as they are for humans. Molly must be greatly relieved and much more comfortable with her queen-sized bed.

      • It really depends. I have one egg that was laid in April, and it is just now beginning to show signs of development. That is unusual. The subspecies I work with has a diapause, which means their eggs won’t begin to develop if they do not experience a “winter” and a “spring warming.” We incubate for a month, put in a wine chiller for two months, then incubate again. Typically, after a month or two of their final incubation, they show signs of development and then hatch a few months later. 9 months from beginning to end is normal. It is always an estimate. There are still things we don’t understand about the process. I have four developing eggs at the moment, and this is just my first round. I have five boxes of eggs, all at different stages. Painters tape is the most wonderful invention for making the necessary notations on the boxes!

  8. Doesn’t that just make you crazy? I have two mares, it’s just the two of them and Winston the mini donkey and they will not be friends. They barely tolerate each other. I got so tired of the ugly faces over the hay feeder I put up a barricade so they can’t see each other. Now they torque their necks awkwardly so they can snarl at one another underneath it, sigh.

  9. Hello, Miss Peacekeeper! You sure do have a lot of fuzzy, feathered, and furry children – or it must seem that way at times. So many and varied temperaments and personalities! Sounds like you found a doable solution, until the next round of shuffling. My hat is off to you! Have a happy day tomorrow!

  10. The picture of the the dog, the big pig, and the white chickens is so peaceful, and your entry for today is so controlled– who would guess that farmers are not always stoic or resigned, as two of my one-time favorite rural writers, Robert Frost and Wendell Berry, seem to make them out to be. Even in the midst of all this frustration you find a bit of humor in Molly’s attention to her “enormous bed” and “the three Grumpy Old Pigs” having to be secured so she can relieve herself. I felt (poor pun alert!) relieved when I read that. It is proof that you will manage, as you said. I’m not sure that I could muster that light tone in similar circumstances. Sitting here by the fire on a cold night, reading, it is easy to smile about the pigs. Out there in the barn or yard in the cold or wet, that’s hard. In keeping with our holiday today, I’m thankful that you manage, and manage to post memorable stories and pictures.

  11. Of all your posts I appreciate the pigs the most. I find them fascinating. I didn’t know they got cross with each other.

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