The night before they are scheduled to arrive at the locker plant, we coerce several hogs from their big playing field into the livestock trailer with milk soaked grain. It's easy to load them as when they see Keith they see food. He is one of their favorite people.
I'm not sure why I am getting this look from farmer Keith, but I am sure that I deserve it.
Down below he is waiting patiently for me outside, to arrive from inside the warm farmhouse, to help him choose which hogs go to market and which ones need more time at the feed trough.
So once a good sized group is loaded we then look them over inside the trailer and pick those that seem to be similar in size, including a couple of Red Wattle Hogs which were specific customer requests. To help you identify the Red Wattle hog...look for the wattle.
The remaining selection process goes like this:
"What do you think?"
"I think they all look good"
"Do you think that one (points at hog with smaller ham size) should wait?"
"Yeah, I think so"
And a reprieve is granted.
Happy that their time has not yet come, the released captives return to the herd to eat, dig, root, play in mud yet another day. The goat ? Yeah, Miss Sugar there found her way into the pig pen a few months ago. Her little (then she was little) goatling followed her and now the two of them roam free with the hogs.
I should have such a tough life.
As darkness of evening falls on South Pork Ranch, the two releasees, now reunited with their pasture mates, contemplate how they might curb their appetites and stay small enough to avoid the locker the next time their number is called.
Instead, they decide to start their diets...tomorrow.