Hermia & Helena
Hermia started life as the pet of a person who left her to fend for herself when he moved house in pursuit of reality television fame. Luckily, kind neighbors found her grazing with their horses, and she lived the life of a horse for five years. She had never socialized with pigs, and while she clearly bonded to her horse companions, they developed a habit of biting her sides until she was completely bald except for a strip of her on her back and hips.
When she came to us due to another move, she was afraid and sad, and she stayed in her hut for several days, uninterested in comfort. Luckily, shortly after her arrival, we took in a hen who had been bullied so badly by her flock that she was bald and covered in scabs, and needed a chicken-free space for a long and slow healing process, so Hermia, whom we named for Shakespeare's "little... but fierce" heroine, got a friend named, of course, Helena. The two found quiet comfort in each other, and each night we had to fetch Helena out of Hermia's hut to put her safely to bed in her coop. Helena laid her eggs at the back of Hermia's hut each morning, and Hermia kept them safe for her.
Though she grew to enjoy pig activities like wandering the pasture and soaking in the mud, Hermia remained aloof to the other pigs until this fall, when Petunia, our little black piglet, arrived. Petunia made instant friends with Gilbert, our other piglet, and whether because Hermia reminded Petunia of her mother, or because Petunia knew that Hermia needed someone to love, she began to lead Gilbert into Hermia's hut to sleep each night, and to our surprise, Hermia did not object. Hermia now has two kids to protect and keep warm every night, and she seems very content with her role. Helena still enjoys spending time in Hermia's yard, and has grown a lustrous set of feathers. She is unrecognizable from the hen we first saw near death, in the corner of a coop with a dozen flockmates attacking her. She has grown into a confident, funny, bossy hen who keeps our Cornish crosses, who are triple her size, in line with brief conversations and subtle dances. Both girls have a purpose, a family, and the knowledge that they're safe.