Thursday, January 31, 2013

Pig Travel Agent

I wear many hats. Even those with the ridiculous ear flaps but only when it is really cold. I also juggle hats IN the house. Like the time I have been spending lately just trying to get one fat pig from point A (our farm) to point B (Institute of Higher Learning).

"Yes, I'm very proud of my Mama Sophie and her
involvement in the research when is dinner?"

It started with one of those innocent emails, "Hi, I'm looking for a Red Wattle pig for a research program." All would've gone well if I'd hit delete that very moment but Noooooooo, I was curious. Several weeks later we are committed, or should be soon once a room is ready. We asked for sea view.

The commitment is with the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary Science Department. They are studying the behavior of certain heritage hogs. Enter Sophie age 2 and 1/2. We agreed on a sale price and expenses for us to take her to them which means a short vacation for Keith and I later this spring. If you call hauling an occasionally squeeling pig across 4 state lines a "vacation." We do.

The logistics have been entertaining. First Miss Sophie had to be impregnated. That was easy seeing as Max did all the work. Then the pregnancy had to be confirmed which meant loading up her pigness and taking her 10 miles down the road to Dr Whitman's.

Live piglets were confirmed via portable ultrasound in the back of the trailer. Blood was drawn as well as she needed to be negative for Brucellosis  and Pseudorabies  and PRRS. With pregnancy positive and others test negative we now were in phase 3. How shall we get her there?

We played around with several ideas. Have her shipped by strangers, who knows what kind of fool hardy play would occur at the truck stop rest areas? Or we could take her ourselves but in the big livestock trailer? Maybe a topper on the back of the pickup? We decided to fix up the big calf box we use to transport, you guessed it, Calves to and fro.

It will sit on the back of the truck and be less conspicuous in hotel parking lots...we hope. So transportation solved but what about the farmers? It's over 800 miles to PA and we ain't young anymore so we'll need to break the trip up and stay in hotels on way out and way back.

More reservations to be made. Done. Then more emails with the vet at UPenn to clarify timing of the health exam to be done (within 30 days of the trip) and another set of blood tests. Another appointment with the vet needed, Done.

And where exactly will we be dropping off this piggy? seems the UPenn contracts with a nearby farmer to use his barn for such housings. So more phone calls and directions and dates confirmed. Done.

Wait. Who will take care of all our animals while we are gone ? Keith talked with our young man who works for us once a week and his mother since he is still underage. Seems they have a trip in the future and needed help with their farm animals. Trades made. Dates clarified. Done.

And people wonder what I do in the house all day....


  1. I figured you just blogged and watched Oprah like I did.

  2. So it must be 'interesting' taking care of piggy en route -- parked outside a hotel, no?

  3. PLEASE put a good lock on the calf cage! A friend of mine did a similar trip, except with goats, and they transported in a calf cage. Stopped at a motel during the trip, got up the next morning and someone had swiped a goat!

  4. While you're in PA, you can sample some raw milk and see if it's as tasty as yours.

    If the UPenn folks want to take you out for eats, and you're near the New Bolton Center, tell them you'd like go to Tallulah's Table or Sovana Bistro.

  5. Broad, our whole life is a riot!

    Lamb, hard to believe someone would go to the trouble of taking a pig but they do steel horse don't they? We'll probably just sneak Sophie into the hotel with us. We'll all sleep better.

  6. Hauling a pig across the country~ sounds like a vacation to me!

    We once made a trip to Missouri and enjoyed a 10 hour trip back home with a "surprise" baby goat that rode on our daughter's lap:))

    Hmmm... yes, what are you going to do with a pig in a hotel parking lot??? Should be fun! Can't wait to see the blog post on that one!

  7. Wait a minute. Hauling a pregnant sow 800 miles? Getting someone to take care of the farm?

    You are more amazing than I thought.

  8. Sounds very much like our honeymoon!! We picked up 3 RW's in Missouri and 6 goats in Kentucky on our 4 day trip. LOL Good luck in your travels!!

  9. Do the hotel offer a pet room too?? Sounds like an interesting few days away and will be interesting to hear how the research goes :)