Our Piggy Adventure

17 Dec

My son decided this year that he loves pigs more than any animal. I never showed pigs and when I was student teaching I had the pleasure… errr… frightening experience of trying to put a board between two fighting pigs which made me decide pigs weren’t really my thing. What do you do when your baby has decided life isn’t complete without pigs?

Well you load up and go to a sale I suppose. I wasn’t really sure what to expect but there was a sale about 70 miles away in Roswell going on during a weekend we were free that a friend said would be a good sale. We threw the goat carrier in the back of the pickup and loaded up. When we got there we found that it would be a silent auction (not what I was expecting but ok) and the pigs were all numbered and put in pens by litter. I picked a few pigs I liked and especially had my heart set on a little duroc. Bidding started and we found that opening bid on all the pigs was $250. Ouch. That was my entire budget for the four pigs we were supposed to try to buy. We watched the bidding go on and my favorite little duroc went for $1250. Yikes. Guess I’m a good picker, it was the highest price pig that day. After the sale ended hubby went to talk to the breeder. Do you have any broken pigs? Lol, yep we asked for broken pigs. Since the pig market was out of our price range by a long shot surely there might be some runts, cripples, or something for us to experiment on?

The breeder was super nice and accommodated us with four broken pigs. Two had wonky ears, one had an abscess on it’s neck, and the fourth was just not a favorite and a gilt (female pig) which demand is less for since some fairs don’t allow them. We could have gotten a fifth pig but it was what he called a “head shaker” and had some neurological issue making it shake its head non-stop which it might or might not outgrow but I just couldn’t stand to watch. We loaded up our four tiny “broken” pigs and made a deal within our budget. It was a good day.

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Four tiny pigs in the back of my truck in a very tall goat cage!

We got the pigs home and they were freezing. It’s a lot colder at our altitude than it is in Roswell so we got them all tucked into the goat cage (now on the ground in our barn) with some straw and a heat lamp. I had to admit they were pretty freaking adorable sleeping in a pile and waking up to play and eat.

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Yeah by now you’re probably realizing I’m falling in love. I had no idea that baby pigs were so freaking cute. They are funny too. They jump and play just like puppies. Ronan thinks that all babies are cute and then they grow up ugly. To just wait and see that the pig cuteness will wear off.

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Pig selfie! It’s so cute isn’t it? Yep I’ve been out in the barn cuddling them.

So the pigs grew and grew. They ate and ate. They grew and grew. Grady practically lived in the pen with them and they were as gentle as dogs! Every time that someone came over to weigh them or see how they were growing for the fair they couldn’t believe how gentle they were.

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We built them a cute little house out of an old water storage tank that rusted out. It worked good until they all got much bigger than I realized.

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Best buddies. Pigs and little boys both love playing in the dirt all summer.

Fair came along and the pigs looked great but a little on the small side. One pig that went to live with our friends was showed by his owner in the Cloverbud class. Grady showed Dot in the Cloverbud class and Ryleigh showed her in a prospect class (she didn’t make weight). Mr. Piggy didn’t make weight. Ryleigh showed Cupcake in a cross class. They placed well in their classes and Cupcake could have pulled into the sale but Ryleigh had two other animals in the sale we wanted to sell worse so we brought our three pigs home.

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Ryleigh showing Cupcake.

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Grady showing Dot.

When the pigs came home we decided that we’d feed out Mr. Piggy and Cupcake which was always kind of the plan anyway to fill our freezer and my parents. Grady wanted to keep Dot and try to have babies which presents it’s own set of challenges and adventures.

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The pigs are so comfortable here at home that they even sleep on the porch like the dogs. Everyone says this makes it harder to eat them but we really like bacon. So. If we can ever get an appointment with the butcher we’ll be taking Mr. Piggy and Cupcake to come home in little white packages. This has proven to be a longer process than we imagined. Some butchers never call you back or only want to schedule appointments when you’re on vacation. So here we are in December with three pigs still.

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I was worried about how they would tolerate the cold but it honestly doesn’t seem to bother them much. They are huge so they regularly push the gate open and let themselves out of their pen and roam around in the snow. I’ve also been having to spray Dot’s nose with “boar scent” to try to get her to come into heat for artificial insemination. Now they all really love me and come sniffing anytime I’m in the vicinity. Apparently the stinky pig perfume is good stuff because I’m like the pied piper. Not good enough to stir up a heat cycle yet though. Maybe soon?

To be continued….

 

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