Sunday, November 8, 2009
Who's on first ?!
November 8, 2009
By day my younger brother Tom is a sheet metal worker, by night he plays in his heavy metal band Drowning Face Down, but recently he has been...hog guidance counselor. Our work load keeps increasing at the farm and several family members have been working with us helping us to get ready for winter. In the last two weeks Tom has fixed fences, painted the milk parlor, repaired a chicken house and now was going to assist with our hog relocation program. Just 10 short days ago Keith and I picked up our new family of Red Wattler Pigs. Our first group of breeders were Anne, Debbie and Fritz. Today we focus on Fritz, our first Red Wattler boar age 1 and 1/2.
Fritz has had some tough times in the past. Several months ago at his previous home, a coyote managed to tear into his back right leg, in the ham area so to speak. He did heal but the scar is large and still easily seen. Yet, from the first day he came home to us he has been friendly and polite giving me no trouble when I enter the pig pen to feed him and the girls. These Red Wattler pigs are truly the Gentle Giants other breeders told us they were.
We had kept the 3 in our barn since bringing them home so they could acclimate to us and our surroundings but we were anxious to get them out onto real ground. Well I was anxious, Keith was more worried that Fritz would go through the fence as his recent reading had said such. I, on the other hand found these pigs to be waaaaaay too intelligent for that, I would sure once bitten they would be twice shy.
Keith put up some hot wire directly outside their pen and with him at "home base", brother Tom at "first" and me at "second" (Tom came up with the baseball assignments) we encouraged Fritz out of the barn. Yup, we felt our bases were covered. He slowly walked up to the fence by Keith, got bit by the electricity and backed up. We all felt a little bad for him as it is never easy to watch your loved ones learn hard lessons, yet we were happy he went back instead of forward. A little miffed, Fritz went towards Tom, no big surprise as Tom with his big smile and easy going ponytail is a pretty friendly looking guy. Again he got bit by the fence. He backed up but it was obvious he was getting agitated. Then he came running towards me. Waving my arms, he turned just before hitting the fence. Oh man was I good ! Hog woman of the friggin' year ! Before I could prance up stage to get my award, Fritz accelerated to warp speed, ran towards the corner section of the fenced pen to my right and burst through it. Wires snapping like pieces of yarn.
He ran about 20 feet heading towards open field when suddenly his male-dar kicked in and he got wind of our two crossbred gilts to the west of the barn. He made a bee-line towards them, barreled through two more electric fences and planted himself between Dot and Spot. They put on a pot of tea served him some biscuits and there he is still 3 days later.
We had planned to breed them to him in about a month. That was THE PLAN. It was IN WRITING. But things change, moods elevate and we estimate our breeding schedule has been moved up a month. Brother Tom could not have been more impressed with Fritz, boar of the hour who let no man or wire get between him and his needs.