Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Pig Story

Charlie had a litter of pigs by surprise ;)  He bought this sow for freezer camp, but began to see mammary development on her.  When I stopped by he asked to me to look and see what I thought.  I told him unless Pigs get false pregnancies (which I have since learned can happen), that she was pregnant...  Later that week she had her piglets.  She had seven but lost two.  The rest were very strong.  Charlie had a farrowing pen for the sow, so that she did not squish the piglets, and all was good.  Fast forward about four weeks, and I stopped by to see the Piglets.  Charlie invited me into the pen.  I had my camera and wanted to get some shots.

So, we went in the pen and Charlie showed me how much the sow likes to be scratched.  That was cool, but then he had to leave for something.  That left me alone in the pen with the sow and her piglets.  She began to come up to me just sort of slow motion pushing into me- I began to get a bit nervous, as it was slowly dawning on me that this was a mother and her babies and she did not know me.  Anyway, nothing worked and she backed me to the fence, as the stupid door has two latches, and I did not have time to figure them out.  Instead, I hopped up on the fence to get away from her.  Then, Charlie came over and sort of giggled that she had scared me so much, but guess what?  She did the same to him.  She was clearly irritated.  Charlie's wife mentioned getting the farrowing pen out of  the inside pen, so there is more room.  Since it takes four people to move it and there was another kid there, we did this.  We locked the sow and her piglets out of the inside room, and she went ballistic.  She ran around, wagged her tail, chomped her teeth and BIT the rolled metal gate.  She was agitated.

Okay, so that night I am watching that new show "Jobs that Bite" and guess what the segment was on?  PIGS!  The host went to a pig farm in Oregon where he was going to help.  He goes in the pen after they warn him about sows with piglets..    He is asked to grab a piglet (for castration), and when the piglet squealed, guess what the sow did?  The exact same thing that sow did to me.  The host says "what do I do?!!" and they say "Drop it!!"  Translation: She will put a whoopin' on you if you do not release!

So, then they end up with piglets.  Sows are mad.  One is wagging it's tail (just like the one I was near).  Host asks if that is good, guys says "no, it means they are thinking".  The sows are running around and chomping their teeth.  This is a VERY bad sign..  This is what pigs do to intimidate- grate their teeth together, thus sharpening them...

The show was very interesting.  I just wish I had seen it one day earlier, so that I did not STUPIDLY go into a pen housing a sow and her piglets.  When I shared this on facebook, I heard numerous HORRIBLE stories of sows almost killing people...  GOOD GOD was I stupid.

Don't get me wrong, I still like pigs, but I won't have one... I will leave the raising of them to others!  Me? I stick with the sheep!


Anonymous said...

Oh my! I'm glad none of you were hurt.

The more I read about farming, the more I realize I was only meant to have cats, maybe a dog, and a garden. Does that make me a wuss? I'm not cut of the same cloth as you, but I definitely admire you and wish I was more like you.


Anonymous said...

Ha! I don't think I'll ever have pigs, for this reason. My goats have always been patient mamas, but I have one NASTY rabbit doe who charges, growls and bites when she has kits. She managed to punch a hole in my rubber boot last time.

Never under estimate maternal instincts - though your pig experience will make a great story for years to come. :)


Anonymous said...

I've seen people hurt by sows. Not pretty. I personally got thrown about 20 feet by one that weighed around 600 to 800 lbs. Her head was massive. Never had liked working with pigs.

Peter said...

When I was a kid we visited a cousin in Iowa who raised his hogs (really BIG pigs) on pasture and we were warned never to go into the sow pasture when they had piglets.