The past few days have been a whirlwind of activity getting prepared for the arrival of our new piglets. Friday morning John and Carol came over for coffee and to discuss how we were going to transport our piglets to PHF. We found out on Thursday morning that they would be ready for pick up at about noon on Saturday. Sitting on the porch around the Plastic Round Table where we often hatch out our ideas, we all agreed that the piglets would fit in two large dog kennels. Each of the three piglets weighs approximately fifty pounds. John’s extended cab Ford pickup,(Big Red) would be the shinning steed that would convey us down many country roads to the land of pink piglets.
We still had a few more things to purchase for the piglets new home so Sonny and I went on a quest in the early afternoon to find them. First we stopped at Tyler feed to stock up on pig food, then off to the Pennsboro Ace Hardware for a 45 gallon trash can to store the feed, buckets, chicken wire to reinforce the bottom of the fence and a galvanized oval tub for water. We made one more unplanned stop before going home. Parcs Kubota. The RTV’s dressed in sultry orange had caught Sonny’s eye and they lured him in with their Sirens song. I didn’t have any blinders… I wasn’t quick enough to put my hands over his ears… he was lost to them. We came home that night with a 3 year old 900 diesel model with a hydraulic dump bed. It isn’t new, but it is in great shape. In all seriousness it will be and already has been in the past few days a work horse for the farm.
Saturday we got up at 5 AM so we could be at John and Carols by 6:30. We all wanted to go to the flea market before picking up the piglets. It is pretty much an every Saturday ritual and something I look forward to. We don’t always find something we want but it is fun to look at all the wares for sale. After a much needed cup of coffee and breakfast at McDonalds we hopped back into Big Red and started our hour and half journey to the pig farm.
The pig farm was much nicer than I expected. All the pigs were kept in nice quarters and there wasn’t what you would call a bad pig odor. The daddy of these piglets is a humongous boar. I have never seen such a huge pig. He must be eight feet long and close to 900 pounds. He was all muscle, not sloppy fat. If a pig could be called handsome I guess you could say he was top of the line. Our piglets looked healthy and playfully romped around their pen until the farmer went to catch them, then the high pitched blood curdling squeals ensued.
We ended up with four pigs instead of just three. John and Carol bought the runt that was born with the litter for half price. He really isn’t that much of a runt. We were able to put all four in one dog cage and covered the top with a tarp to keep the rain or sun if we had any off of them. By the time we got them to PHF they were all asleep.
We still had to finish putting up the chicken wire around the bottom of the fence and also some shorter T-post in between the taller ones. We did this to keep them from being able to root under or push the fence out. We put in the new feed and water troughs then let the piglets loose inside. They immediately loved their new home. Cork screw tails were stretched out straight and wagging like a dog. I know there were smiles under those pig snouts. The pink skinned piglets frolicked around the green grass and tasted its sweetness. It won’t take them long to finish off the grass and make the pen a mud pit. Right now they are little eating machines, soon to be huge eating machines. The runt? Well he stands in the food trough making sure he gets his share and won’t let the others run him out. He will be a bruiser before long.
This morning John and Carol came by with nose rings and clamper for the piglets nose. Since they are in pasture we needed to ring their noses to keep them from over rooting. It amazes me how tough a pigs nose is. These little guys had rooted up heavy bush roots and stumps since last night. They are like mini bull dozers. I have to say we all did a good job catching these willie rascals and holding them still for their nose jewelry. I think they screamed more from being captured than having their noses pierced. The moment we put them down the squeals stopped and they were back to normal as if a switch had been turned off. I hope these guys do well out here and enjoy their time. We hope to give them a good pigs life with room to play, plenty of food, warm shelter and humane treatment.
I’m not sure how I will react when its time to send them for processing. I will be the one who spends the most time taking care of them although I will not make them pets. I already told Sonny that its up to him and John to take them when the time comes. Its a part of farm life that is may be hard for me since I’m an animal lover, but I will be grateful for the meat and I will enjoy all the hams, chops and bacon. They will be treated far better than commercial swine. I’m not really sure what other purpose a pig has in the world other than food. They certainly weren’t put on earth for their good looks. I think I that I have farmer potential. I actually looked at one of my chickens the other day and the idea of roast chicken crossed my mind without a flinch. Maybe I wont be too upset at all when the pigs go to market.