We have the sweetest herd of purebred, registered Tamworth pigs I could ever imagine. When we first got them, they were Frank’s. To be honest, they scared me to death. That first year, we so didn’t get how to deal with them. They were pushy when I fed them, so Frank mostly fed them. We had trouble moving them. They got out a lot. We didn’t even name any of them until after all the feeders went off to freezer camp and we just had the two gilts left.
Then that winter, I really got to know those two girls, Ginny and Hermione. (Well, they went to visit a boar named Harry. How could I not name them after Harry Potter characters?!) It was really good that I got very friendly with them, because not soon after I ended up with a bottle baby that spring. (Minnie.) Boy did I have to know a lot about pigs all of a sudden. I still remember going out that morning to find a whole litter of frozen piglets and bringing her back to life. I’d never seen a baby pig before then. Minnie taught me lots and lots about pigs. I know how to give the best cuddles. I know how to calm an upset piglet. I know how to tell when one is hungry, or injured, cold, or afraid. All of that knowledge sure helped with every litter of piglets we’ve had since then. I make sure to do lots of socialization when they are babies. It’s one of the best parts of my job, and I love that when I sell them, I hear about how awesome they are, how friendly and sweet. Yup! I did that.
It even helped with Albus Dumbleboar, our herd sire. We got him when he was only 10 weeks old, and he is just the sweetest, gentlest pig around. We keep hearing about mean boars and can hardly put our heads around that concept. You mean all boars don’t want a cuddle and a scratch when you bring breakfast and dinner? He does his job well, too. He’s got five sows that he keeps bred, and he is a fantastic father, something I didn’t know was going to happen. He lets babies climb all over him and nudges them toward their mama when they fuss and get hungry or lost.
They don’t even get out of their paddock much anymore these days. THANK GOD. But when they do, having the dogs to help put them back is just perfect. The hooligans can scoot under the lowest strand and boy do the dogs think it’s fun to put them back. I’m having a little problem with Maggie, who thinks that means you can always chase piglets, even when they are in the paddock. I’m having a hard time convincing her that it’s only okay to chase them when they are out. But she’s fascinated with the big pigs. When she first got here, she would shake around them.
Two of the gilts that we kept this spring are going off to freezer camp on the 18th. If I can figure out how to do it, so is Ginny. She’s never had another litter since her one litter with Minnie, and she wasn’t a good mother then. She didn’t catch with another visit with Harry, and Albus doesn’t show any interest in her at all. I know, though, that they all had a good life here with us, and I’m looking forward to lots of good pork (and lard!). If you would like to get on the list for pork, let me know.