Pigs are usually considered to be heavy and slow animals. Indeed, it is difficult to believe that an animal whose weight can reach a quarter of a tonne in just over a year (we’ve measured our Tamworths!) can be as speedy as an average dog. But give them a space and you will be amazed!
No sheep – 10 acres to use
Most of the grazing land at Axe Edge Green Farm is taken by sheep that are owned and looked after by a local farmer. We love having them here, as they are a joy to look at, especially at lambing, and they keep the grass well-trimmed. In October/November the ewes that are usually on our land go speed-dating with tups (rams). It means that there is 10 acres of land that is not being used. And who else to give it to if not our pigs.
Being a pig
Our Tamworths are kept in large-sized paddocks with strong fences. They root, they turn the ground, they wallow, they do what a happy pig likes doing. We love seeing them being pigs and enjoying their lives. They chase each other within their paddocks which keeps them fit and they have athletic bodies.
Freedom to roam
When the sheep went on their holiday, we started letting pigs roam the fields for a couple of hours a day around their lunchtime. The first time we did it, the Tamworths were a bit unsure, but they soon set off in pairs to explore the land. Within seconds they were a couple of hundred metres away, running like crazy, chasing each other and various scents. It was a beautiful sight, even if a bit scary as we wondered how to get them back to their paddocks!
Who would have thoughts that pigs will have a better recall than our dogs. They react to their names or ‘piggies’, but it’s even better when you rattle pig nuts in a bucket. In no time, all Tamworths came back to their paddocks like well-trained dogs. And they have been doing it every day since.
Written by Agnieszka Butterworth