City to good life
This month: Vicky Quick in Mid Devon
“I’m a city girl turned amateur smallholder. We work for a family as Head Gardener and Housekeeper which gives us access to three acres where we raise rare breed pigs, ducks and chickens and plan to raise an orphan lamb or two.
“When we decided to move to the countryside, I knew I wanted pigs. My other half bought me The Haynes Manual for Pigs and we decided that we wanted to do our bit for rare breeds and chose the British Lop. We went to visit the piglets before they were weaned and chose three boys. I also broke my first rule of not naming them so as not to get too attached, by choosing one with a damaged tail and affectionately referring to him as ‘Stumpy’! As well as being one of the rarest of our native pig breeds, with fewer than 200 registered breeding sows, the British Lop originated from the Devon/Cornish border of Tavistock; a docile breed, ideal for beginners, which we were. The second lot of pigs we were Oxford Sandy and Blacks, another rare breed, but certainly one whose popularity is on the rise, and in the new year we also took on some Large Black pigs. The land owners have sponsored our pig project; in return, we do all the work and then split the meat between us and their family.
“Despite previously living in a one bed flat in Southampton, we still managed to keep chickens and ducks. My other half built an enclosure and when we were at home we would let them out onto the grass. We took six ducks and four chickens with us to Devon and we now have 18 birds in total. Last year I got an awesome birthday present which I put to immediate good use, a Brinsea incubator. I used some fertile eggs from our trio of Buff Rock bantams – I was so excited to hatch my very own chickens.
“The plan in future is to sell some sausages at local farmers markets, and maybe have a traditional house cow with calf. There’s lots of plans, but it’s what we can make work!” * Do follow Vicky @attwp https:// andthentherewerepigs.wordpress.com/ * Compiled by Debbie Kingsley who tweets from @ SouthYeoFarm and set up @SmallholdersUK
Vicky Quick and friend