Updated: May 25
Sauce is now a truly happy piggie!
Having had enough of being cooped up with her babies I encouraged her to embark on a sortie out of the pig pen. She sashayed out and went straight up to her sister to nuzzle her and say hello. But Apple was not playing ball, quite the opposite, she rebuffed the endearing affection with a bite, swiftly followed by an attack and so poor Sauce ran back to where I was holding the gate open for her as Apple tried to bite her bum!
That’s it I thought – time to go!
Whilst Apple is easy for me to handle and never aggressive with humans, she enjoys flexing her alpha female muscles with her sister. So, yesterday she was collected by a neighbouring farmer who has a herd of 20 pigs that roam the montado (cork oak forest), have a large pig pond in which to bathe and where she will learn to integrate into a herd community. It might be a bit of a shock for her system but like all of us, we sometimes have to learn about manners and boundaries!
I am reliably assured that these are good farmers, their herd is strong and well looked after and I feel confident that she will have a good life with them; even if she doesn’t get to rule the roost – or not at first!
Back home I opened the gates to the pig pen so Sauce and her daughter Scoff-a-Lot could be reunited. It was a delightful, gentle reunion, which pleased Scoffers so much she was twirling around in circles with excitement. Some time later the arrival of the piglets was another delight as they tip toed out of the pig pen to find their mother who was grazing, in seemingly unbelievable calm, contentment. And why wouldn’t she be? No more worries about what Apple would get up to in a fit of jealousy or domineering swagger. No, Sauce could wander the field, confident that her babies would be safe and sure there was no danger from Scoffers.
Indeed Scoffers, despite her 7 months of age, was transported back to true piglet form as she was soon playing with them with alacrity. Whenever this looked as though it might become a little too rough her mother moved in and gently moved her aside. No drama, no aggression just a gentle nudge of the nose and job done.
The next thing I knew Scoffers had decided to play surrogate mother and lay down as though to suckle the babies – they all climbed on top of her, over her and endeavoured to find non-existent milk in her teats, until their mother called them as she opened up the milk bar. All endearingly natural.
Watching Sauce throughout the day you could see her grow in self-confidence, taking on the mantel of matriarch in an endearingly benign and tender manner. All trace of Apple was being erased as Sauce took over as leader of her pack.
And so last night they all crammed into the pig house together, mother, Scoffers and the little ones, a great melange of piggie happiness and relaxation.
This makes us happy too!