Pigs Now

DSC05011 My work machine was in the shop last week, so Friday, Lisa and I went to pick up our pigs. We got them from Kingbird Farm over near Ithaca New York. We now have two registered Tamworth gilts, three barrows (that’s a castrated boar) and an unregistered gilt that the seller warned us not to breed. Her mother has had two litters of two in a row. They are cute, and when they’re happy the herd of them grunts away, sounding like a 70s muscle car idling. When they’re upset, they squeal like pigs, which, by the way, is loud and shrill. Like every other baby in the world, they are treating Lisa like mommy, although I’m still the frightening boogy man.

DSC05040We had set up a nice electronet paddock for them, where we wanted to lose some stumps. However the seller warned us that pigs need careful training to electric fence: Their instinct is to rush it, which will get them through high tensile, and cause a disaster with electro-net. So you need to put a hot strand or two in front of woven wire or wood and let them learn that rushing does no good. We aren’t set up for this, so they are parked in a ring of hog panels in a really weedy area that Lisa has wanted to clean up for years. They’ve just about ripped it up, so we’ll probably lift up the pen and march them ten feet left later today. The sheep will get first crack at the grass behind the house while we try to figure out how to pen the pigs there later this week.

With gas at three bucks a gallon, we also need to get smarter about driving around on business. The new trailer is much harder on the truck than the old one, and pulling it across Vermont was just as hard empty as with the two huge horses in it. Either way, it knocks the truck’s mileage from fifteen mpg to ten and is clearly hard on the engine. We need to rebuild the box for the bed and build a ramp for critters to get up there. I think we used to just lift sheep up there, but that’s amazingly like work and simply won’t work with 250 pound pigs.

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