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Three pigs and a little lady

by Darren

I was fortunate to spend yesterday on a ‘farm’ in Devon with these wonderful Kune pigs.

I put farm in quotation marks because Donald and Rebecca aren’t farming the land.  They are cultivating it to some extent but only to enjoy it and to develop it as their own nature reserve where they can relax and watch the variety of wonderful wildlife who also call it home.  There are parts they took us to which they hadn’t visited themselves in six months.

They keep three kune pigs as pets.  They are huge impressive beasts with a voracious appetite but they are also very welcoming and I really enjoyed the time I spent with them.  The vegetation on the land is quite dense so after the top has been cut off an area the pigs move in to eat the roots and brambles which initially turns the area to mud, but then the pigs move on and it recovers.

We had barely arrived when a kestrel appeared.  Having come to photograph pigs I wasn’t set up for this but quickly fetched a telephoto and approached low and slow.  It wasn’t to be, but that will be one of the challenges for a future visit.  The kestrels are frequent visitors and we saw the remains of a meal later in the day (a long trail of fresh pigeon feathers).

There is a large area of woodland occupied by approximately 15-20 badgers as well as fallow deer and plenty of woodland/farmland birds.  Donald and Rebecca also keep chickens, so their land is virtually an adventure playground for someone like me.  At one point Donald even offered to build a hide for me to come and use, but quickly followed with the line “I hope you won’t expect me to come and sit in it with you!”

I almost forgot the little lady ….. a wonderful Jack Russell called Madeleine who accompanied us for most of the walk.  Later in a field Donald kicked a basketball around for her so that I could photograph her amazing ball control!

It was a fun trip, and I hope to do some more in-depth work later this year.  I hope you enjoy the pictures.

The eyes of these gentle giants are absolutely beautiful, but really hard to capture as often covered by the vast amount of hair

The pigs like to root around in the mud to make sure they haven’t missed any food…

Feeding time was quite difficult to photograph as they all got very close to each other with their heads down, but when the time came for them to have a drink, camera shake was the problem – we couldn’t stop laughing!

Big Foot was the largest hen, while Madeleine showing off her ball skills concluded a wonderful few hours

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