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A Farm Grows in Bristol

There’s been a population explosion here…so much so that I’ve been up to my ears in new little bodies for the last couple of weeks.  We go through this every year but this year we’re getting everyone onboard a little earlier than usual…because we’re not busy cycling various groups of sheep/lambs around on the grass daily.  The newbies are 4 Tamworth piglets, 50 Cornish chicks and 14 layer chicks (various breeds).   

Tamworth piglets are this wonderful red/brown color.

Tamworth piglets are this wonderful red/brown color.

The early arrival of the four piglets presented a little challenge that we hadn’t anticipated.  It rained quite a bit in the days before their arrival so it was wa-a-ay too wet to put them in the “back woods” where they usually hang out — surely the truck would’ve been mired up to its axles if we’d tried to drive in there and when we walked in to check out the site, it wasn’t much better…boots could’ve been lost with one wrong step!  We abandoned the idea of the

Piglets are very smart and quickly learn to use the pig nipple to drink water. Giving them water this way assures that they'll always have clean water to drink. If given in a pan, it immediately becomes a piggie pool!

Piglets are very smart and quickly learn to use the pig nipple to drink water. Giving them water this way assures that they'll always have clean water to drink. If given in a pan, it immediately becomes a piggie pool!

woods as the pig’s home — at least for the time being.  We decided to put them in the sheep shed.  The sheep were headed out to the pasture and wouldn’t need the shed anymore. The pigs could  have a grand ole time rooting up a winter’s worth of well pack down sheep bedding…in some places this can be a foot deep.  Tamworths are rooting machines!!  And with their help, our job of cleaning out the shed will be much easier.  So the piglets are happy in their temporary home, growing by leaps and bounds and we’re moving them around the shed so they always have something fun to do!   Another week or so in the shed and off they go to the great outdoors — if it’s dried up a bit out there!

The Cornish chicks came via USPS from their hatchery as “day-olds” and I drove to Bath to pick them up.  When I got there, I could hear them peeping loudly in the back of the post office — always a good sign that they’ve survived the trip!

Cornish chicks at home in their cozy brooder

Cornish chicks at home in their cozy brooder

As soon as we got home, they went right into the brooder in the barn…all warm and cozy under their lights.  It’s been a little colder than in previous years because it’s earlier in the season but we’ve been staying on top of that by checking on them and adjusting their lights.  So far, they’re doing really well and need less heat now that they’ve got some real feathers.  In another week, they should be ready to move into the greenhouse where they’ll have access to pasture. 

I wasn’t going to start any layer chicks this year because I started a bunch last Spring but while I was in Maryland, our resident fox helped himself to three — yes! THREE — of our beautiful young hens!  Eeesh!   The fox could be a “she” but Jim got a good look at “it” and reported that it’s size would indicate a male.

These little girls will be laying eggs in the Fall.

These little girls will be laying eggs in the Fall.

Anyway, the expert fence charger guy (aka Jim) heard my cries and boosted the electric on the poultry netting.  It looks like the point may have been made.  No more losses to date.  Keeping fingers crossed…

Just have to throw in a photo of the piglets taking a nap…

There are 4 piglets under this pile of straw!

There are 4 piglets under this pile of straw!

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