Saturday, March 7, 2009

Moving Pigs

I'd mentioned before that we'd kept the pigs in the stable because the weather has been so unpredictable. We had been moving them from stall to stall. They were content with the dirt floors, open windows & lots of hay to snuggle in but now that the weather has settled down, it was time for them to move into the open.

This evening we moved them into their new pasture. They have a large grassy area with some nice trees for shade. The grassy area will soon be plowed up as the pigs play but we have another pasture to move them into when that one gets nasty.

Moving was quite the traumatic experience! We decided to put a rope around the neck & around the hips of a pig to guide it to its new pasture. There are too many places for the pigs to get loose during the trip from the stable to their pasture so we didn't want to take any chances that one would slip away, shoot down the hill & disappear into the woods. We also decided to move just a single pig at a time. The boys were going to hold the pig ropes, Al was going to open doors & gates & I was going to stay behind to mind the remaining pig.

As soon as the first pig was roped, he began to squeal. The other pig squealed along with him. The squealing was loud enough to make your teeth hurt. The roped pig was not interested in leaving the stable & the free pig was not going back into the stall. I cornered the free pig while the fellows tugged the roped pig out the door. They managed to shut the door just as the free pig was getting angry & shoving at me to get around to go out the door. While the boys & pig took off for the pasture, the remaining pig felt he needed to deal with me. He kept coming up to my knees & pushing on me with his snout. He wasn't quite opening his mouth far enough to bite but I didn't like the fact that he was slobbering down my legs. I didn't know if he was looking for comfort or a chunk of my leg. I kept pushing him back but every time I touched him he squealed again. In a few minutes the fellows were back, having successfully guided the other pig to the new pasture. The instant the ropes were removed, the outdoor pig began to root around calmly exploring his new home. It took another two or three minutes to rope the second pig. In less than five minutes the two were reunited & having a ball on their fresh grass.

We set them up with a water trough & gave them lots of great kitchen scraps. They were happily rooting away as the sun went down. Hopefully, they will be just as happily occupied in their pasture when the sun comes up tomorrow.

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