Saturday, November 24, 2012

Revolving Pigs

After weeks of hard work, (not mine, his) our second large hocienda is in place. It is the one in the back. The one closer up is the first one Keith built two years ago. Read more about the building of the recycled hog palace HERE

We are now accepting applications for residents of the new dwelling. Although most landlords must be very careful about how they screen applicants, Fair Housing Laws and such, we have no such requirements here.

Basically we insist upon:
All four feet on the ground except during breeding.
No more than 10 additional roommates at any one time
No grain stealing. One scoop per hog per day. Violators will be sent to the locker early, natural consequences you know.

With no willing applicants, (they heard there was no indoor pool) we recruited our own new tenants through the bribery of milk soaked grain on the back of the livestock trailer.  First we recorded wattles, (number and position of) teats, (number and function) and ear position (erect, tipped or lopped) All criteria needed when identifying which Red Wattle Hogs may be suitable for sale as registered breeders. Those that fit the criteria were ear tagged with lime green plastic tags.  Of the 15 in these two groups we only identified 3 suitable for such registration. The best of the best, then eat the rest ! Using Keith's new piglet ramp we loaded these two litters taking them from the barn that had been their home the last couple weeks.

Recently weaned from their mothers we had them in the barn a short time to acquaint them to being fed by humans and to train them to a single strand of electric wire. But they were getting big and needed bigger digs.
The ramp, another item built entirely of leftovers proved mighty handy. In the past we would lodge a couple bales of hay against the back of the trailer and then "encourage" them to jump up. With the new  ramp... well the only thing easily would have been an escalator.
All safely on board, Keith drove Miss Daisy and her friends to the north east side of our farm dropping them off at the new hogcienda where we placed a large bale of hay and pulled around a livestock panel for a small outside run.
That's our  15 year old niece Bridgette helping us out for the weekend. Currently in negotiations with her parents to keep her indentured full time. She was a natural when it came to pig herding!
We'll keep this lot in the small outside area for a week or so , until they associate this new building as their home base, then they will have access to the whole big pasture after that. Piglets came off the trailer easily and had a riot with new bigger digs.
Then it was back over to the west side of the farm to pick up Leopard who was more than ready to be separated from her soon-to-be-weaned babies. Again with the promise of grain soaked in heaven (raw, slightly sour milk) the big mama leapt up on the trailer, not even waving goodbye to the offspring.
Max waited patiently for her. He has learned over the years that when the trailer approaches it most often means a new lady, or at least one he hasn't seen in a couple months while they were off raising their babies, has returned. He really does his best to look spiffy for his next breeding adventure.
Mucho attractivo wouldn't you say ?  Cute how he was in such a hurry he didn't get all the shave cream wiped off isn't it? He also insists on meeting his ladies  at the door, no sitting in the car at the curb, honking, for this gentlehog.
That's Debbie in the background feeling more than dejected. She immediately takes after Leopard to remind her who is boss hog.

  Once the hierarchy is again established everyone settles down and Keith takes the trailer BACK to the other side of the farm to pick up Les enfants so abruptly abandoned by Leopard. They will go into the barn stall just emptied minutes before. There, they too will learn about humans who provide feed. But first they need to learn how to use the ramp properly, although watching them go down backwards was worth a giggle.

Neat, how these four piglets came from the same set up parents. Their mama, Leopard is 50% Red Wattle and 50% crossbred mix. Their daddy is full red wattle. All of the litter was  born with two wattles. 2 looked like mamma, 2 like daddy. Sadly only 1of the above 4 was born with brains. (The other two piglest of this litter were still on the trailer so for statistical analysis were not included in the authors findings)
So to summarize, we moved 15 piglets  out to the north east pasture, one sow to the south east pasture and 6 piglets into the barn. We counted teats and ears and wattles , identifying those for the freezer and those for high society.  We even trained one niece in the basics of pastured pig care. All before lunch.
Of course we didn't eat lunch until 3pm so maybe we're not that impressive after all.


  1. They really are lovely pigs; and obviously very happy too.

  2. Love the hog ramp!! I want one! :^)

  3. Cro, in addition to fresh air, grass grian, real dirt, raw milk we also pipe in classical music and provide a Reiki specialist in times of real stress

    Dot. ME too! I want Keith to build me one for our bath tub.

  4. Another story to make every one smile...especially Max!

  5. Still laughing here... but I know it's hard work. You really should write a book!

  6. One of my favorite posts of all time Donna! Wonderful...S.G.