OT? A Nightmare In Two Acts: Mrs. BigDog Meets The Piggies

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Now, look, I'm a bozo. But Mrs. Big Dog has a green thumb not only for child raising and gardening, but raising chickens, turkeys, geese and goats. Now, pigs.

We picked up the three tiny porkers today, including one destined for breeding rather than the barbie. That went swell and I left Mrs. BD in the barn to return to my cyberchores.

When she came in several hours later, I discovered that two little nightmares had taken place (future keepers of pigs, take note of these life lessons):

1. Secure in their little dog cages (two in the first; the third in the other one), the little sweeties looked like they were wilting a bit in the sun on the back of the truck while the Mrs. readied their pen a bit more (you know, flowers and the like).

She got a bit worried and backed the truck into the barn so they had a bit of shade. But they still looked wilted!

Thinking that dead piglets would be a real, shall we say, bummer, she got the hose and hosed them down. Pigs like baths, right?

These teenies, probably already fancying themselves to be in a torture chamber, now thought they were being gassed. They leapt up, as much as they were able, and promptly did the old No. 1 and No. 2 EVERYWHERE. The hose wonderfully melded with their, um, production, to coat them, the cage and the back of the truck with liquified you-know-what.

2. The piggies have to be put in their pen, no? But how to get them off the truck, given their, err, state? Mrs. BD thought that, perhaps by opening the cages, the monsters might jump out into their pen.

Nothing doing. They weren't moving.

The next best thing (aside from calling me down, which she didn't) was to position a feed bin and ease the cages onto it. Oops. They slid onto it and then, BUMP, down to the ground. No problem for the oinkers, but lots of their "stuff" sloshing out of the cage and all over Mrs. BD.

... Who then spent over an hour hosing down the dog cages, the truck and herself.

The Life Lesson: Never hose piggies in dog cages.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), August 24, 1999


You should've contacted Milne about handling pigs. He'd probably said something about the old "tie each of 'em up in a feed sack" method of handling young swine.

Now just to ask, this wasn't another ultrsound payment was it?


-- Wildweasel (vtmldm@epix.net), August 24, 1999.

Man, oh man, are we getting an education, or what!?! Funny story, but, the horror!!!

Pigs are like human teenagers -- full of energy, easily frightened, and have a strong need for everything to be routine.

Later, when you want to move the BBQ pig out to meet his/her fate, set up the ramp or chute a month or so in advance (leading to pickup bed, or wherever). Put some food along the ramp/chute, and let the piggies find the route and walk around on it all they want. When the big day comes, it'll just be routine, and the pig will take "the final stroll" without much complaint.

Also, if you mix some wine/beer or cup of hard stuff with the pig's feed (assuming this is a BIG pig 200+ plus) an hour or so before the processing, the pig will be REAL RELAXED and easy-going. (Too much booze and the pig will be asleep.) Just a little tranquilizer....

Anita E.

-- Anita Evangelista (ale@townsqr.com), August 25, 1999.

Careful, young pigs can run like hell and until they feel at home are always looking to escape. Also being quite intelligent they grow on you and become great pets. Been there, done that.

-- rambo (rambo@thewoods.com), August 25, 1999.

I must admit that BD caught the "feeling tone" of my experience quite accurately! To make matters worse, and to give all prospective pig buyers a tip, my pig book specifically warns that hosing down a hot pig is LIKELY to result in instant shock and soon death. Talk about your killing with kindness. Thank goodness they appear to have weathered the whole experience without harm. I took a verrrrrry long shower.

-- Mrs. Big Dog (BigDog@duffer.com), August 25, 1999.

BD, if you don't want to risk getting attached to the pigs, you might try giving them names, like Breakfast, Lunch, and Supper.

this story reminds me of something that happened to my dad many years ago. we had milking cows for our large family. one very cold winter weekend morning, my dad reluctantly got up to go milk the cows. he was grumpy because he was hung over. one of the cows had backed up in her stall and refused to stand in her proper place. so dad went to give her backside a good kick. just as he went to kick, she moved forward, and he missed, landing on his backside in the crap in the alley. to add insult to injury, she then let loose a stream of fresh liquid manure all over him.

all the cows were sold that week, and dad never said a word to the kids. (i didn't hear the story until recently.) we purchased milk after that, at great expense, and there was never enough.

-- jocelyne slough (jonslough@tln.net), August 25, 1999.

Gawd, I hope Taz and Jake aren't reading this! Jake is Taz's pot-bellied pal. . .

There's a lot to be said for turning vegetarian.

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), August 25, 1999.

Old Git

No Way! I didn't claw my way to the top of the food chain just to eat tofu!

Uh-uh. Nothin' doin'.

I'll name my pigs Barbie Q and the other two will be pork Tom and Ollie. (For pork tamalli).

Take care and keep your...

-- eyes_open (best@wishes.net), August 25, 1999.

Uh, BD, I hate to break the news, but you're going to need more than one pig for that breeding program!

-- Puddintame (achillesg@hotmail.com), August 25, 1999.

Puddintame: Why didn't anyone TELL us!!!!!

PS We will breed her back at the pig farm from whence she came.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), August 25, 1999.

And I though convincing our cats to take a trip to the vet was a major trauma! Luckily, only one transfusion was needed. I'm much better now.

Thanks, BigDog, for the perspective. It's the (big but gentle golden) dogs' turn next week. Almost impossible to fool 'em, but they take dragging well...

Glad we only keep chickens for eggs,

-- Spindoc' (spindoc_99_2000@yahoo.com), August 26, 1999.

What a laugh! Actually, Mrs. BD, turning the hose on them was a good idea, just aim it at their feet next time. (Supposedly, pigs sweat through their feet.) My dad ran a pig operation (farm) for a while and he relied on this method of cooling them while they were in the stock trailer waiting to be shipped off.

I've never been able to understand why people think baby pigs are so cute-guess that disillusionment comes from having to bottle-feed the little boogers. That fresh pig potty smell penetrates everything. Many's the day I went to school reeking with eau de pig potty despite the most vigorous scrubbing.

Thanks for the laugh, guys. Best of luck with the menagerie.

-- newbiebutnodummy (Linda@home.com), August 27, 1999.

I knew that there was a reason why we got chickens...

-- Mad Monk (madmonk@hawaiian.net), August 27, 1999.

BD, it will be well worth the effort. We just picked up a pig from the butcher. This home raised pork is some of the finest eating you can find.

For now, I'm taking the lazy persons route. I have a cousin that raises pigs for several of the family. He even takes them to the butcher.

Plans are to locate and obtain some pot-bellied pigs to start stock this fall. Thinking here is that the small variety will be easier to pen, feed and process. Anyone out there have any experience with pot- bellies, pigs that is.


-- Greybear (greybear@home.com), August 28, 1999.

Thought I'd share my porcine experiences for what they're worth.

We got two feeder pigs this spring. Named them Fanny (as in Fanny May gift sausages) and Pork Chop. Lesson 1: Names do make a difference, although I must say I'm uninclined to become too emotionally attached to the pigs.

We started them in a 10' x 10' pen made of shipping pallets. That held them well enough but it got SMELLY!!! In fact, we had pretty much decided not to do pigs again. But then I got a small solar- powered fence charger and strung a single electric wire on the inside of the pen. Once they had bumped into that for a week or so I moved them to a 50' x 50' square at the end of my garden plots, with three strands of electric wire around it (I also ran the wire around the corn plot to keep the coons out, so it serves double duty). Put a small A-frame made of scrap plywood out there for them. They have done a wonderful job of rooting up and fertilizing that area; I plan to plant corn there next spring. The smell is trivial. Lesson 2: Pigs on pasture are much better than pigs in pens.

Moving them was quite a chore. Pork Chop in particular wanted nothing to do with the move and finally we threw two nylon towing straps around her and two of us dragged her on her butt, squealing to high heaven, to her new home. Lesson 3: Follow Anita's advice above before moving a pig.

It is a joy to give them all our scraps, garden wastes, food slated to be thrown away at my office, etc. They relish all this stuff and it is a great feeling converting garbage to meat (I must say I find it even more satisfying than composting). Lesson 4: Pigs serve a wonderful service on a homestead as garbage disposals.

Our pigs have been a delightful experience. They are slated for slaughter later this month and oh am I looking forward to having all that good, home-raised, hormone-free meat in the freezer. We're hoping to barter one of them for an equivalent quantity of beef, so there's another idea for ya.

-- David Palm (djpalm64@yahoo.com), September 03, 1999.

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