Joxean Bollain, pig farmer

by admin on 02/10/2014

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We went to visit Joxean Bollain, a pig farmer who lives near the village of Aia. Having passed steep descents and sharp bends, we arrived at his farmhouse located on the top of a hill. A deciduous forest above, a meadow and a valley below, scattered groves and farmhouses, colourful flowers, songbirds singing, peace and quiet. In short, the area around Aia is beautiful and being from Norway where songbirds stop singing in the beginning of July, it was a pleasant surprise to hear birdsong in October.

Near the farmhouse, there was a shed in which two sows were letting their piglets suckle. As usual, chickens were walking around freely. Then, we went by car up to the main road again, and after a few kilometres, we ascended a gravel road up to a clearing in the forest. Before climbing a fence, which had no gate because Joxean told us that pigs will open any gate, no matter what, we could see two sows lying on the ground surrounded by suckling piglets. However, a strange grunting sound caught my attention first. Inside a shed, a huge sow was lying on the ground, grunting and looking content.

The piglets were very curious, some more than others as shown in the photo above. In fact, Joxean prefers to control the parentage of the piglets, but in this case a wild boar had jumped the fence and made one of the sows pregnant. Anyway, the piglets stay with their mothers until they are 8-9 months old when most of them will be turned into various types of meat products.

Having paid the piglets a visit, Joxean led us up a steep hillside, he running and we walking. On the top of the hill he soon located a flock of pigs searching for food in an oak forest. That is, they were digging in the ground using their snouts. Obviously, he was fond of of his animals, giving them acorns, letting them bite his hands gently, and caressing them. Being curious animals, they also used their muddy snouts to feel my trousers and one of them started biting my shoe.

The pigs could enter a shed if they wanted to and they were also fed cereals since the food they find is insufficient to feed them properly. On our way back, we also passed a water tank from which they could drink. All in all, it seemed like he took good care of his animals.

On our way back, he asked to be let off the car on the main road, probably to descend a very steep path back to his house.

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