Friday, May 8, 2015
On Monday morning Petunia was a happy pig, racing through the orchard and under the fence to get to her breakfast of café scraps and pig nuts. That evening she was slow to get up and didn't appear so eager. When I went close to where she was lying she got up with a start and moved away rapidly.
On Tuesday morning she was in a bad way. She didn't want to get up and she was frothing at the mouth. I rang the vet.
He reckoned there could be any number of causes for this, from poisoning to infection. He said to wait and see whether the symptoms became any worse. I had to go to work so our neighbour offered to come round and take a look. He thought that maybe she had eaten a poisonous bulb or overeaten on daffodils. He tried to get her to eat some charcoal and drink some water but with little success.
When I returned in the afternoon Petunia was dead. She may well have had something stuck in her throat as there was blood in the froth at her mouth. It was too late to do anything about it.
This was a real shame. Although the three pig sisters were already booked in for their one bad day at the abattoir, it felt really sad to see this pig die before its time. She weighed in at 62kg so it was also a missed opportunity to fill the freezer with home-grown pork.
Farms run on the cycles of life and death. Petunia's death was a sobering reminder of the responsibility we have to look after our animals and how quickly they can die if something is not right.
For the past few years we have fattened two piglets but this year the plan was for three. While this hasn't worked I am very glad that we chose to do this as losing one of two would be much more of a loss than losing the extra one.