Saturday, 6 February 2010

Feeding Time

Although the piglets hadn't tried to eat mum Charlotte's feed yet we decided yesterday to make them up some starter pig food and see if they'd have a try. Within 30 seconds of putting it down they were snuffling about in it and starting to try solid food for the first time. The largest male was the first to get the hang of it whilst the rest followed suit rather quickly.


So later on today we'll be giving them another small feed and slowly increasing the amounts they get to help them wean from mum. Hopefully once this weather clears and the ground defrosts we can get started on a new, larger pig house with outside space  for our growing group of piggies!

On a different note I'm going to start planting some seeds today inside for when the weather clears, hopefully I can get an early start on the garden this year and our crop will be good.

Friday, 5 February 2010

More Piggy Pics

My son has just been out to take some new photo's of our lovely piglets, they're very energetic now and mum is glad to get away from them for a little while - in fact she managed to take the pig house door off it's hinges a little while ago so she could go and investigate the yard!


So far the piglets haven't shown an interest in mum's food but tonight we're going to try them on some sloppy starter food as they're quite happy to try and bite my wellies!
And another one just for good measure lol and because I could spend all day looking at and watching the piglets. 

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Schooling in Bulgaria

We're lucky to have an open school in the village, a lot of schools in Bulgarian rural areas have closed due to lack of attendees. The population here has been in a serious decline for many years now so less and less children are born each year.

My children have been going to the village school for about 2 years now and so far have come a long way in their understanding of written and spoken Bulgarian, they've also learnt some Russian too. The problem is that to help them learn the language they were started off in a class with the youngest children and although they passed the class with ease have only moved up to the next school year so are still being taught with children much younger than them. Which means they're going over stuff they learned back in primary school and that's not great for a 14 and 12 year old!

It's come to a point where they're bored and not challenged by anything done in class, they've got enough of the language to understand everything the teacher says and writes but can't progress any further until they are moved to a higher class. It's very frustrating.

Once this latest bout of snow clears we will have to seriously think about taking the kids out of school and moving them to a bigger and more equipped school in town of Gorna Oryahovitsa, I really do think it's the best way forward for them and will give them a better chance of leaving school with some qualifications. Of course it will cost us money to send them to town 5 days a week but that is unavoidable - education comes first.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Happy Piglets!

I've spent some time today in with the piglets and I've got to say that they're fantastic! Maybe I'm a bit biased but they are just the sweetest, cutest and friendly piglets.

They're very inquisitive right now and while mum is busy eating I've been handling them gently and letting them know I won't hurt them. They crowd around, sniffing everything and putting their little snouts on your hands and boots. I'd like them to be well handled early in life as it does seem to make them easier to work with when they get bigger. A 150 kilo pig who's not friendly can be a bit of a pain I'd imagine!

I'll try and get some more photo's of them tomorrow to put on here, they've certainly grown a lot since they were born and one in particular is quite chunky. The kids are dying to name them but we're uncertain how many we'll keep yet so will wait until we've thought things through a bit more. Come to think of it they haven't named our young sow which is odd as she's been here quite a while now! If you think you have a good name for one of our pigs feel free to leave a comment :)

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Snow and Ice Again

After a few days of milder weather winter has reared it's head again and we have lovely fresh snow now lying on top of thick, very slippery ice. Not great for walking down to the shops in wellies as I found out yesterday! I did manage to stay on my feet but had a few "Hairy" moments lol

The piglets are doing really well and getting more inquisitive and boisterous by the day. They'll be starting on small amounts of solid food this week hopefully. Charlotte is looking well and enjoying her food as usual plus very much back to her normal self and enjoying our company. She lies down on command for a belly rub!

Pigs are very intelligent and love to be around people when they've been treat well, so far every pig we've had has been an absolute joy and none of the have been aggressive towards us. Mikey, our first pig walked on a lead like a dog and the locals thought it was hilarious! We're undecided on how many of the piglets to keep but at least one will stay with us, ideally we'd like to breed more but we will also rear some for meat.

Once the weather changes for good we'll have to think about building a new, larger pig house with an outside run, we have the space to do it and some of the materials we can find around and about on our property. In particular we have an overgrown plot that really would benefit from having pigs on it and they'll enjoy rooting around there too. It has a well, so water shouldn't be a huge issue and we can run electricity from the main house without too much of a problem. So that's one of our plans for this year.

Do you have anything specific planned for the year ahead?