Today the farm gained another goat, partially to replace the goat we tragically lost a few weeks ago but also to help out some friends who, like us, had recently lost a goat leaving their remaining goat all alone and lonely.
Emily, a Boer Goat, came from down the road in Peka Peka so her journey was short and sweet. Upon arrival she was keen to get out the pig crate that had been the source of her confinement for 30 mins and meet the others. I had earlier rebuilt their pallet house and the two boys were hanging out at their new pad. The sound of Emily bleating happily after getting out the car had the boys running and within seconds a happy, goat like, nuzzle and head butting session had begun.
The boys first meeting with Emily.
For the initial meeting I kept Emily on a lead just in case the boys were not yet ready to share their home with a girl and a fight broke out. All went well and it wasn’t long before Emily was carefully placing pink cushions on the floor of the pallet house and complaining about the toilet seat.
The boys watch as Emily rearranges the furniture and lights a scented candle.
Its now been a few days since Emily moved in and the three are getting on like a house on fire. The boys have shown Emily around the 10+ acres that they have access to and every morning we see them wandering up the farm track from the river, meanwhile Emily has been a calming influence on the boys and they now seem more eager for scratches and petting.
I am sure I know what you are thinking whilst reading this and the reality is that we are not sure of the ages of any of our goats so the possibility of baby goats in the not to0 distant future is a complete unknown. I for one have always wanted to farm goats so maybe, one day, the offspring of Emily and Charlie (or Michael) will be gracing the pages of this blog.
Two days ago our latest addition to the farm arrived. Having travelled by livestock haulier just over 1000km from Gore in the far South she arrived in Levin. The hand over was unceremoniously carried out on the side of state highway 1 and consisted of me carrying her from the back of a truck full of cattle to my hand made stock crate in the back of the Colorado. A short car trip followed back to the farm and one more quick journey in my arms and Delia was home.
Delia is the second of our Berkshires and is destined to be a mate to Hugh when she is old enough. At just three months old she is at least 3 months away from being capable of breeding, and for that matter dealing with the bundle of energetic muscle that is Hugh.
Delia is currently in the transit paddock (RP3TA), she will spend a week or so there while I keep and eye on her, check for ticks or any other issues and then, when she has full regained her strength from the journey, I will let her join the Large Black girls in the larger paddock. Delia is a little bit smaller than the others but is energetic, in very good condition, and I suspect can look after herself.
Her final home will be in the big paddock (ASP01) along with the other sows and it is here that the breeding herd will be established. Delia, like Hugh, is rarebreed registered with the New Zealand Pig Breeders Association and as such their offspring will be registerable and they in turn will continue to help keep the rarebreed Berkshire Pig a little less rare. By doing this we are not only making great pork, bacon, ham and sausages but we are also keeping alive one of the oldest breeds of pigs, one that only recently was on the brink of extinction.
Delia finds the wallow for the first time
The long back is a sign of excellent breeding and also excellent spicy pork ribs.
The Berkshire has a short white nose, white feet and a little white tip on the tail.
Last Thursday we had a new arrival on the farm. Having been very disappointed and saddened by my trip to the Hawkes Bay the previous week I managed to source a registered Berkshire Boar just down the road in Levin. This boar is registered in the New Zealand Pig Breeders Association herd book and his official name is Ohau Count the 2nd (Ohau is the stud he came from and Count is the bloodline). Born on the 13th March 2013 he is not yet one year old but easily takes the crown of the oldest pig on the farm and given that he is part of my breeding herd he will be staying for a long time, probably up to 9 years. So, without further ado, I would like to introduce you to Hugh…
Ohau Count 2nd, ‘Hugh’ the Berkshire Boar
I am sure your first question is where did the name come from and the answer is the kitchen, Claire and I have decided to call all our breeding stock after famous chefs and of course the first one had to be Hugh, just you wait till Nigella arrives. With the arrival of Hugh came the first of my second breed of choice, the Berkshire (pronounced bark-cher). The Berkshire pig is smaller than the Large Black but still has a friendly personality and is known, especially in Japan, for its excellent meat quality which is likened to Beef Wagyu where the fat marbles through the meat.
Hugh has been on the farm just a few days and is already showing a great personality. From the day he arrived and wouldn’t get off the back of the ute to the complete mess he has made of his new 1 acre paddock. Hugh likes a good scratch behind the ears and a mud bath with me directing the water onto his belly.
My homemade stock crate on the back of the Colorado (pallets and plywood)
Hugh gingerly looks out of the crate at the expanse of land that awaits him.
His first steps from the crate.
Hugh’s first taste of green, green glass
Hugh takes a drink from the trough.
Pigs like to root, and root they will.
Unfortunately for Hugh he won’t have any female company for a while as his mate to be, who arrives on Tuesday, is only 3 months old and it will be a good few months before she is ready for breeding, in the meantime he will just have to make do with a cold mud bath. Hopefully, if all goes well with the arranged marriage, we will have our first homegrown litter of Berkshire piglets in six months time.