Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Pigs Away!

This picture involves two very happy men, one behind the camera and the other, Nicky, in front of it.  Why? Because that box contains.... pork.

Nicky's one of three crofters in Ormsaigbeg who have gone over to keeping pigs instead of the more traditional sheep. From the crofters' point of view, it's been a great move, as pigs are easier to keep, particularly in this very wet climate, and....

....because they can very justifiably command a premium price on the market for pork from pigs which are genuinely - and sometimes far too - free range.

The other day Nicky took seven pigs to the slaughter house on Mull knowing that he had already sold all seven. Most of the pork has gone to a top class restaurant in Glasgow whose owner is only too happy to pay for quality meat.

They went off beautifully packaged with labels designed by Nicky's partner, Sophie. But the label does reflect the way that farming, and crofting in particular, isn't an easy life. The 'Dusty' featured was their first sow, and she died suddenly, a terrible loss to their small business.

The blog has a great deal of fun from our local pigs, but I do admire the crofters who are rearing them, and I do feel that the animals have a wonderful life on these small crofts. So, surrounded as we are by pigs, we really don't mind their proximity - well, not too much.


  1. Another benefit of crofting pigs appears to be the clearance of bracken. Is this permanent or do the roots grow back quickly when the pigs are moved on?

  2. Billy Williamson25 August 2015 at 20:02

    Pigs are very fussy eaters,although they seem to gorge everything, and I recall a story of a brass button,from the pig-man's coat, being left in the bottom of a trough, as was a piece of raw onion. They may well eat all the rhizomes, but re-infestation is very possible, as with any physical removal of any weed. Below is a 40 page dissertation on bracken management, including the use of pigs and Wild boar.