Raising a family of pigs is more than a full time job
Owning pigs is a full-time job '“ but they certainly do their bit to earn a crust as they pull in the crowds at shows.
Both Barbara and Keith Davies, who run Longridge Belmont Farm, had grown up with them, but it was only six years ago when they became proud owners and took on farming.They now have more than 400 pigs to nurture, before they are eventually sold on to local wholesalers and butchers.Barbara, 48, said: “I was brought up in a farm in Coppull and we had a few pigs in the garden. “Incidentally, Keith also had pigs on a farm in the area when he was 15 or 16, so it was something that was natural to us.“We got a small holding in 2006 and then got some pigs six years ago.“Then, when Keith got made redundant from his job as a builder, four years ago he became a full-time pig farmer.“We got half a dozen and it grew from there as a business. We built it up from nothing, as it was just a field.“I am a child minder four days a week and do pig farming three days a week.“I feed them twice a day, muck them out and sit with them when they are farrowing. It is a full time job with a few of the pigs.”As part of their pig farming business, the Davies family attend agricultural shows, taking their pigs for people to pet and stroke.They also man the hog roast stall.The cute piglets were such a firm favourite among visitors, that event organisers asked them to host piglet racing and from that point, it has been a focal point for the family, as daughter Catherine, 18, and Lora Margerison, 26, also join in.Barbara, 48, said: “Around two years ago, Barry Hill, chairman of the Goosnargh and Longridge Agricultural Show, suggested we do piglet racing.“We had some coats made and sewn things on their little jackets as a bit on fun.“The piglets go through a tunnel and do agility jumps.“It is a crowd puller. People are fascinated and children love it.“We take around 10 or 12 piglets to the shows. Some have jackets on and they race and then we take the really small ones out.“We call them little trainees. They are the really cute ones people love.”Barbara loves her pigs and piglets and admits it keeps her busy.She said: “It is time consuming feeding and training them all.“You need to spend a lot of time with them as they can be quite flighty and need a lot of human contact.“You need to sit with them and talk to them.“They are very sociable animals and are very interesting as they have their own characters.“We choose the piglets who will race six weeks before the event.“We choose gilts (females) and use them to breed and we keep hold of them.“It doesn’t take too long to train them.“They run for food and jump over obstacles.“My daughter, Catherine, and her boyfriend, Zander Webb, 20, have been training them.“They have been used to human contact and they love the interaction.”