Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sophies Choice

Mama's Boy

We started raising Red Wattle hogs three years ago. Still listed by the American Livestock Breed Conservancy as "Critically Endangered" we thought we'd like to do our part to increase their numbers. To date there are still less than 2000 of them in the entire world.

Of those 2000, South Pork Ranch is home to 17 of the gentle giants. They are cool pigs, but we have found some of the females to be on the quirky side.

Sophie is one of the quirky ones. Her first litter produced 10 wonderful babes and just one died a few days after farrowing. She was a great mother to the remaining group. Her second farrowing went differently. She had another beautiful litter and all went well until day three when mysteriously...all but one remained.

Her story was flimsy. Granted Sasquatch has been filmed in some parts of the Northwest but not so much in central Illinois. Tracks of the mighty half man, half gorilla were not found near her hutch, unless the hairy beast has taken to wearing rubber boots, the only tracks found anywhere near Sophie's house of ill repute. Hey ! If you suddenly "lose" a group of piglets your home becomes ill-reputed in my eyes. I'm judgemental that way.

Sophie, too busy scratching herself to answer
questions about her missing piglets

So, the case grows cold in front of our very eyes as Sophie focused all her motherly love on one spoiled mamma's boy. Yes, just one male remained and having every single one of Sophie's teats to himself, he has grown fat and sassy since his arrival 4 weeks ago. He also has all the makings for good breeding stock so we left him uncastrated. Oddly just a few days later we got a phone call from a farmer IN NEED of another Red Wattle Boar.

Two wattles, Nice ears, all good reasons
for letting this Baby Red Wattle
keep his pigjigglies.

SOLD. Baby boy will go to his new owner in a few weeks after he is weaned.

So , now we have that tough decision to make. Sophie has had one good litter where she proved herself well. Followed by another litter where several piglets are still unaccounted for. Did she consume them out of boredom? Sell them on the black Red Wattle market and pocket the cash for herself? Do we believe her far fetched Sasquatch fable and give her another chance or do we make her into one large batch of cheddar brats?



  1. Sophie's baby boy is a fat little guy, very cute. Personally cheddar brats are one of my favs, but maybe just maybe Sophie deserves one more chance. Maybe a woodland elf stole her children and the only reason that baby boy survived is he was hiding behind the mountainous mother. It could have happened....just sayin'

  2. You never know, she could have herd (oops heard) rumours or had inside information about the rest of them. That little guy is so cute.

  3. That's so sad! I certainly hope that Sasquatch is to blame...or the little piggies went off in search of a market or something. What a gorgeous boy!

  4. This is when an on farm X-Ray machine would come in handy. That would have allowed you to determine once and for all if the missing piglets were still hanging around Sophie......so to speak.

  5. Hmm. It depends I guess on what normally happens when a pig turns quirky. Do they stay quirky? The other question is could anything have happened to upset her enough into devouring the rest of them or is she just a strange mother? Not that I can't empathise. There have been the odd days when I'd quite like to eat my only young.

  6. Not knowing the costs involved to keep a full grown sow with questionable habits, I can't really chime into the monetary based decision whether to keep her or not. But being the softie that I am, and the fact that there just ain't a lot of those piggies in the world, I'd probably error on the side of "mysterious disappearance" as opposed to the not-as-nice "eat'n the youngn's" scenario. At lest for one more year.

  7. As Walter says- keep the BEST- eat the rest. I vote Sophie off the island in the interest of bettering the genetic pool- and that advice is worth what you just paid for it :)

  8. Aw. Natalie ewould want to keep him. She loves pigs.

  9. pigjigglies - I'm still laughing.

  10. They say that pigs are highly intelligent. I believe that. It takes guts to eat your own children, but pigs see the bigger picture.

  11. Maybe they've gone weee weee weee all the way to someone else's home.

  12. I would love to have some piglets this year..... love the "look" of yours!!!!

    apologies for monopolizing toms blog!!!! over to you ! lol x

  13. Thistle, "woodland elf?" I think your loom might be strung a little too tight there

    MBJ, you too taking the side of the mother. Hmmm

    Kim , Like I sais NO TRACKS

    PAUL, x-ray's? Good idea. Weird idea

    Amanda, once a quirk always a quirk

    Carolyn, OK OK I get it you all want Sophie to have another chance. Start sending money for her feed then :)

    Sal finally a voice of reson !

    Whispering writer..and then another soft heart. Jeez, you people are killing me

    Traci. Thank you. I love pigjigglies too.

    Tom, and of course you see whole nother angle to the story. I would expect nothing less

    Cro, keep it up and I'll ship Mother Sophie overseas

    John, you're forgiven. Just don't let it happen again.

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  15. Oh Sophie~ Sophie, Sophie, Sophie. Did you miss the farm memo that said you are not supposed to eat your cute little babies? Hence the reason for the breed being nearly extinct? Knowing the cost of raising a pig~ I vote for cheesy brats. Sorry Sophie.

  16. The horror of farming!!! And, PigJigglies? You had me bursting out in laughter.

    I don't know WHAT I'd do in this situation. Sounds like the risk of another go-round is 50/50.

    Who knows unless you try? Then again, you might end up with only one fat piglet again.


  17. I am SO glad to have found your blog!
    Your new #1 fan :)

  18. Cheesy brat.

    It's a big (expensive) risk to take for the chance of a litter.

    Sophie's contribution to the gene pool can continue through her son.

  19. I might take one more chance with Sophie. If the next litter goes mysteriously missing, then i think it's time for Sophie to be sausages and chops.

    Then again, i'm not footing the bill.