Have we had our summer?

This has been a very busy month with July litters of British Lops arriving, the Great Yorkshire show, the first of our pig keeping courses to prepare for, the summer holidays looming and somewhere in between I had a birthday. All this and finally, the rain arrived just as United Utilities imposed a hose pipe ban!

Of course, these July born piglets are potentially next years show stock so we will be looking for the best of the boars and gilts in the litters to bring on. With the warm weather the heat lamps have been unnecessary although I think it is a good idea to have a lit area that the piglets are encouraged to sleep in where the sow can’t lie on them.

Both John and I took pigs to the Great Yorkshire Show where despite some heavy downpours at night the days were relatively dry and the rain did not seem to dampen spirits. There were more pigs than ever possibly due to the demise of the Royal Show. John was very pleased when a Saddleback won the Pig of the Year competition for the second year running! Pigs are selected around the county shows to compete for this coveted title and it is a great accolade to win and to win two years on the run is a great achievement by Amanda and Wills.

These shows are an excellent place to see a variety of breeds, both modern and traditional, and speak to the pig breeders, who also come in a number of varieties but will always be happy to talk about their stock. For those showing it is a very social event and also an opportunity for us to see other stock and maybe buy some new lines.

The British Lops were well represented as were the Saddlebacks. It was a disappointment that there were not enough Hampshires for them to have their own breed classes despite there being four different exhibitors.

As our first pig keeping course approaches we are really looking forward to meeting new pig keepers and sharing our experiences. There has been a lot of interest at the shows and John is constantly printing off new leaflets to hand out. Everyone is very complimentary about our brochure but as John and his wife Margaret run a printing business, Abacus (colour printers), it should be good!

The much needed rain has been very heavy at times and we have been wondering if our British summer is over. The rivers, streams and lakes appear replenished but the hosepipe ban remains in place as the reservoirs were so low. The pigs have been enjoying a mud bath again and I didn’t feel quite so guilty washing pigs for the show as I knew our neighbour’s water tank had filled up.

John is planning to go to the Anglesey show with his Saddlebacks and Hampshires. It will be September and the Westmorland County show before my British Lops come out again.


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