It is with a heavy heart that I write this post to say that my two sows went to market on Monday.
I bought Cagney and Lacy from a friend back in July 2007 and I have looked after them practically everyday for the last two years bar a few days away. Cagney and Lacy were pedigree British Saddleback pigs with lovely temperaments who were kept on my farm for breeding.
The sows produced 4 litters each and alot of piglets between them – I’ll have to work out how many as I can’t remember.
Although I didn’t want to send the two sows to market I had to consider doing so as the sows had more recently suffered with mastitis and erysiphelas. After consulting the vet and my neighbour who I bought the sows from and both my fatherinlaw and husband thinking they should go I made the decision to sell them at market.
I would have loved to have kept them as pet pigs but when married to a farmer, pet animals are not on the agenda and I do understand this although it doesn’t make it any easier to part with them. I did consider selling them to a smallholder but as Cagney has had mastitis twice, the last time just days after she had 16 piglets, I was worried that she may get it again and this would be difficult and painful for her with her piglets as well as difficult and stressful for the owner who may have to hand rear some or all of the piglets. Lacy wasn’t without her health problems. She had a mild case of mastitis after her second litter but recovered quickly and just recently she got an illness that can affect fertility.
I also didn’t want to keep one sow without the other as they were sisters and good company for each other and pigs are such social creatures they would have been lost without their mate if I had just kept one of them.
My father-in-law came with the trailer on Monday morning and we loaded the pigs, which is never an easy task, which on this occasion I was thankful for as it took my mind off the fact that my beloved sows were leaving the farm.
I feel like I have betrayed them and although they had a good life on the farm whilst they were with me, I do question what right I had to make the decision to send them to market and indeed slaughter. Standing here with a healthy cheque doesn’t make me feel any better.
The problem is that I didn’t see the sows as a farm commodity but more as my pets that I loved and care for everyday, so with a heavy heart I say farewell to my beloved Cagney and Lacy.