The Piggery Wimpole hall farm


Despite the lively and interesting daily routine at the piggery, I'd been putting off attempting to photograph it. This was mainly down to the fact that inside the farrow shed is poorly lit and its artificial lighting throws an unnatural yellow tone over everything. However, there came a point at which I just had to 'have a go' and so the following selection of the photos I took is the outcome.

Looking down into the outside farrow pens

While the purpose of my Wimople photography project has been to concentrate on capturing images of volunteers and staff, there is another group of performers who I now had to take into consideration. These are, of course, the pigs. Even though I've never made any serious attempt to photograph pigs before, I hope that you like the small selection I've included throughout this webpage.

Cilla, Maisy and Florence

External view

Most of you will be familiar with the layout of the piggery, but if not, it might help to say that the first series of shots are taken in and around the external farrow pens. And, as you can see in the images above, the pigs can move freely from their outside areas through their 'doors' into internal pens.

Much of the morning routine at the piggery is repetitive. Therefore, the photography reflects that. I've tried to capture in the images, all the regular volunteers. So it's with apologies if I've missed you.

Lesley cleaning out the dirty straw from the outside pens
Problems with the drainage has required the laying of straw in these external pens which has increased the workload


Fresh straw for Maisy
Lesley and Duke
Before the public arrive volunteers work hard to get the pens cleaned out and fresh bedding laid.
John spreading fresh straw for Cilla
Maisy taking an interest in the straw being put down by john
Maisy and some of her litter of eleven
John removes the old, wet straw
Getting an even distribution of straw in the pen
Barrow loads of old straw are taken away to the composting area
Maisy takes an interest in what's going on
Sprinkling fresh straw into a pen
Duke emerges into his external pen area to check the bolts that keep the partitions secure!
Maisy thinks about coming out into the chilly morning air
It's hard not to smile when these little characters scamper about
Mum is never far away
Their world is filled with things to be investigated
Maisy keeps an eye on things
Maisy looks the quintessential pig of children's story books
Tom forking old straw out of one of the pens
Barbara, a British Saddleback, with her growing litter
The piglets are not camera shy
Daisy and Tom
Florence's ears keep her eyes hidden from the camera
Padlocks are needed to secure the hinged sections of the pens
Tom taking a breather
Each day a different team of volunteers work in the farrow pens. Roger works from pen to pen.
Emma enjoys finding bits to eat among the straw


A piglet's eye view of the world
A surprising amount of straw needs to be shifted each morning
It's not difficult to see why the pigs' straw needs changing
Joe taking fresh straw from the barrow to the pen
The fresh straw throws up a lot of dust
If the dust gets too much, Joe can put his mask over his mouth and nose
There is repetition in this daily routine of caring for the pigs


Rob sweeps up the area to which visitors have access
Given half a chance the pigs will get out of their pens if they aren't securred
Maisy in deep thought....or is she?

Arthur and Lulu

The vet had to be called out to treat Lulu. She was suffering after a night in the company of Arthur who had managed to manipulate the sliding bolt and get into her neighbouring pen. It was evident that he had been very rough with her and had caused Lulu to suffer a prolapse.

Daisy describes the state of Lulu to the vet, James and his assistant.
Disinfecting before the vets get to work
Having examined Lulu, James describes the procedure he will have to undertake
Veterinary treatment in a non-sterile environment reduces the chances of success
Preparing for administering the anesthetic


Look away now...

If you don't like the sight of blood, skip the next four images!

The vet makes an assessment of the state of Lulu's prolapse
It's decided that a small section of her rectum needs cutting out
The clean cut sections of Lulu's rectum are stitched together
Finally, a dose of antibiotics is given to Lulu
The following morning, Daisy inspects a poorly Lulu. The vet had given her just over a 30% chance of getting through the experience!
It's just a case of waiting to see if Lulu has it in her to pull through
Daisy briefs Richard on the situation with Lulu....who after a couple of days perks up and is on the road to recovery
Something a bit more cheerful

Moving inside

The routine inside the farrow shed mirrors that which was undertaken in the outside pens. First, the old soiled straw need to be removed before fresh straw is replaced.

Wheelbarrows are perpetually going back and forth
Imogen cleaning out Lulu's pen
Soiled straw can be surprisingly heavy
Another barrow load destined for the compost
Imogen throws in fresh straw
Joe decides that the mask is needed
On very cold winter mornings the water pipes freeze and have to be unfrozen by pouring hot water over them
Ceri secures the lock on the pen gate
Time for a snooze
The work continues but the pigs can get in the way
The pigs are very curious about what's going on


Tom doing the final sweep of the pen
Lesley sweeping up the stray straw
Nico and Chris
Patrick throwing in fresh straw
Patrick and Joe
Dust and bits of straw blow everywhere with the slightest breeze
Roger and Imogen
Imogen disinfects the surfaces that visitors might come into contact with
Rob disinfects the signs as well as other surfaces
Joe and Patrick


This selection of photographs wouldn't have been possible without the patience and cooperation of the the people who feature in them. So, a big thanks to you all. And, sorry if you didn't feature...I'll do my best to include you next time.

And not forgetting...

....the other star performers. The pigs. Endlessly fascinating animals and great photographic subjects....even if they often get too close to the camera!

Missed previous photo stories?

If so, just follow these links to catch up.....

My Website

Created By
Mike Hodgson


Photography by Mike Hodgson

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