Piggies Again

The day we get our piglets is  one of my favorite days of the year on the farm.  This year that day was Saturday.

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The lucky five are now residing in a barn stall.  As soon as they’re tame enough to let me touch them while they’re eating and to come to me when I have food for them, we’ll put them out onto pasture where they’ll live great pig lives until late fall.

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This crew is pretty tame already so that shouldn’t take long.  A couple of years ago I got piglets from a neighboring farmer and they were so afraid of humans that it took a month to tame them. Last year it only took about a week. This year’s piggies came from the same farm we got ours from last year.  The farmer there is kind to his pigs and they have no fear of him at all.  Our piglets haven’t completely warmed up to us yet, but they will come to us and touch our hands with their noses.  They haven’t been conditioned to fear humans.  That’s as it should be.

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I expect they’ll make the transition to pasture in the next week or two.

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28 comments on “Piggies Again

  1. bobraxton says:

    all ears

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  2. shoreacres says:

    What cuties!~ all of you. As sometimes happens, I’ve been bestirred to poetry. (Well, sort of.)

    There once was a farmer named Bill
    who never would serve up pure swill
    to the piggies who roam
    their new pig-worthy home,
    free to come and to go as they will.

    Like

    • bobraxton says:

      After 1958-1959 ninth grade, I went to NC forestry camp (full week) with two people from each of the hundred NC counties. It was then that I learned that although in the piedmont we “slop” the hogs, those in the western part of NC “swill.” Each to their (his/her) own.

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    • Bill says:

      I like it. 🙂
      They seem a little anxious to get to their pig-worthy home. Cherie came home today from doing deliveries to discover them roaming around in our back yard. It seems a certain farmer named Bill hadn’t closed the stall door properly. Luckily she was able to round them up. Tonight I discussed with them the importance of staying in the stall until we move them to the pasture but I’m not sure they appreciated my reasoning.

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  3. Recently I took a half-day substitute teaching job for an art teacher. It turned out the “tech ed” teacher was out the other half of the day, so they asked me to fill in for him. I thought it would be wood shop.

    It was a rural school and he is an agricultural science teacher who has recently revived the school’s Future Farmers of America chapter. It was my best gig yet.

    The assignment was to make a poster of a particular animal and (spoiler alert: cover the piggies’ eyes for this) label the cuts of meat that would eventually come from that animal. Some students could do it without aid of a text book.

    One girl in particular fascinated me with her story of buying her pigs, raising them, and so on. She’s one of the most interesting people I’ve met in a long time.

    I meant to tell you about the FFA and that particular school, but then I got busy. Your piggies reminded me.

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    • Bill says:

      I didn’t participate in FFA when I was in school (though it was quite popular). If someone had said I was a future farmer I would have laughed out loud. Absolutely no way that was going to happen. Life is funny like that.

      I’m glad to know there are still places where FFA is alive and well.

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  4. bobraxton says:

    Eli Whitney high, ninth grade, 1958-1959, Future Farmers of America: “I believe in the future of farming with a faith born not of words but of deeds …” memorized, class requirement. In those days the “girls” took home economics (which I learned at my mother’s elbow).

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  5. Yay, you have pigs again. They look wonderful. Same problem with tameness – this year’s pair took a month to get used to handling (though one will now swoon for a tummy rub), last year’s pair was enjoying back scratches within a week. Yours look so tiny, hard to believe mine were that size a month ago, but I guess they were. Gilts? Barrows? A mix? Preferences?

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    • Bill says:

      They seem smaller than usual to me too, but maybe that’s because the last time I saw pigs on the farm they weighed over 400 pounds each. These are a mix and I’m not sure how many of each we have. I’ve only raised gilts in the past, but this year I told him I’d take whatever he had, as long as the males were cut. These are taming rapidly, which is good.

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  6. Laura says:

    Love pigs, especially cute little piglets! My daughter’s FFA pigs don’t come til fall, but I can’t wait.

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  7. df says:

    They are absolutely gorgeous; I love their hue.

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    • Bill says:

      They are surely cute. Their mother is a pure-bred Tamworth and their sire is a Berkshire. All of these are totally red except for one, who has a white shoulder.

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  8. EllaDee says:

    The piggies are super cute. They will have nice lives. The way it should be. And you don’t need me to tell you “research shows that pigs are intelligent and have a sense of self.” which I read in an article morning – http://www.theage.com.au/brand-discover/animals-australia/the-meat-we-eat/?utm_source=outbrain&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=outbrain_animals2 – “Consumers are eating less red meat and more chicken and pork. Few realise the increase in suffering this has caused… Chicken and pork trebled and doubled their market shares over the past 50 years at the expense of beef, lamb and mutton… But consumers need to realise the awareness that “The reality of factory farming, she adds, is that “cheaper equals crueller”.”

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    • Bill says:

      In this country (and likely yours) a person would be sent to prison for treating a dog less cruelly than factory farms treat pigs. The way pigs are treated in those hellish places is shameful. And arguably it’s even worse for chickens, which are the most tortured and abused animal on the planet.

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      • rumpydog says:

        And it may not be rooted in fact, but I believe that when we put the meat of animals treated that way into our bodies, we harm our physical and spiritual health.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. nebraskadave says:

    Bill, I always liked pigs on the farm in my younger days probably because they are always so active. They are a non stop curiously exploratory animal that provides hours of entertainment. I truly believe they are the smartest animal on the homestead. At times they can be the most frustrating animal on the homestead as well, especially when they escape, and they will. They always give the appearance of being so happy and carefree. I had a cousin that married a pig farmer. He used the dreaded confinement method. Even then they were happy to see anyone that came to see them and still had a perception of happy and care free living.

    I’ve been to the chicken farms where they keep five chickens in a 3 foot square cage and cut their beaks to keep them from pecking each other to death. Oh, yeah, they had free range chickens there as well. Ha, what a joke. They were allowed to run free but inside a building along with hundreds of other chickens. I’m not sure what the square footage was for each chicken but it wasn’t much more than the caged ones.

    People are so disconnected from their food sources and don’t really want to know where it comes from or how it’s raised.

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    • Bill says:

      There is a chicken facility near here that has a little enclosure on the side (not even 1% of the size of the structure). I’ve never seen a chicken in it, but because the facility has a “porch” they can sell their chickens as “free range”. It’s outrageous.

      We love having the pigs around. They are delightful creatures.

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      • bobraxton says:

        Raise your hand (you’ve heard this already): back up in the hollow(s) there was a proud owner of a fancy German-made sports car parked out in front. The owner had other transportation to get to work the day they hired a worker to do some painting of the deck. When they returned from work, they found the cherished car covered with hideous paint and, when asked, the worker said “Well, you said to PAINT the porch!”

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  10. We love the Tamworth pork – best we’ve ever had. They are at the top of our list to raise when we get to the farm full-time. The woman we buy the meat from raises them on pasture and spent barley grain, then finishes them on acorns, apples and hazelnuts.

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    • Bill says:

      No doubt that pork is amazingly good. We were really happy with the Tamworth/Berkshire crosses we raised last year. This year I may experiment with turning them into another wooded area to finish on acorns. They get lots of acorns in the pasture they’re in, but not as many as I’d like.

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  11. I got that “fall” bit Bill. I think I told you that pigs are right up there with goats in being my all time favorite farm animals. –Curt

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  12. Woody says:

    Our favorite cross has been a Duroc/Berkshire. Length of the Duroc with the fat marbling of the berks.

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    • Bill says:

      That sounds great. I may be able to source piglets with that cross. By the way, I misspoke (mistyped?) above. These are Tamworth/Hampshire crosses, not Tamworth/Berkshire.

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