Ahhh…. the joys of farming! Today our sons and I went to pick up a couple piglets from an accidental breeding a couple hours away. We had been given a neutered Kunekune from Calhoun Family Farm to act as an ambassador to homesteaders on the value of the breed. Eventually we will be getting a female Kune but for now we needed workers so we decided to bring home a couple of guinea hogs.
Now, these new piglets had not been handled like pets, though their mom was tame. When we arrived they asked us if we had secure crates, for which I had brought a dog crate. However, I underestimated the size of these piglets, which were supposed to be about 50 lbs. and the same age as Piggles (our Kune). These new ones were a tad larger, but we still figured we could fit them in the crate. Of course, that was assuming a lot, like we could get one in after one was already inside the crate!
As soon as we pulled into the yard the rain that had held off all day began to pour down so thick you could barely see. Slops were poured out to lure the pigs close and the first piglet was grabbed by it’s hind legs, squealing and screaming to my children’s amusement. Momma pig wasn’t too happy, but we shoved the piglet into the crate and I attempted to close the door. Unfortunately it is an old crate and the door falls off if opened too far and I couldn’t get it back in place before the piglet took off with a mighty squeal and lunge! It took off for parts unknown as we all looked on in the rain. Back to square one.
The next attempt was harder, the piglets and mom were a bit more wary of us. After a few attempts the girl caught another piglet by it’s legs and this time we kept the door right and got the crate closed. We took a look at the pig running loose in the yard and the one in the crate, and the pig sellers told me they didn’t think they were getting another piglet into that crate, they would give me a crate instead. I think maybe they were ready to get rid of those pigs!
By now the pig pen was a mess of puddles and mud and slop, and the piglets were running at the slightest motion. Momma was stressed, so we brought her out of the pen so hopefully no one would get hurt. The girl tried chasing the pigs a couple times, but they were rather fast on those little legs. The rain let up and the sun came out, making our clothes literally steam! We poured a little slop in the crate to try luring the pigs to it, but they were too smart for that (however, I got to ride home with that slop for 2 hours!). It was lovely; the pigs were wet and muddy and scared. What a combination!
I decided to participate in the chase. We decided we were going to have to simply catch a pig as they would not be tricked. We moved the rate to a corner where there was door to the barn tied open with a thick rope. I blocked the rest of the opening, and the other 2 ladies herded the pigs my way. Well, those pigs came running full steam ahead around the corner of that barn, saw me, saw the door blocking their way, and went for the door. They busted that dang door of the rope and took off for the far side of the pen with no intention of letting us within 50 feet.
Now we figured the only way to catch them was to make them tired, so the one girl and I chased while her mom stood with the crate to try and be ready for a piglet. Momma was going crazy and my oldest son got out of the van and I started yelling at him to get back in as momma had decided he must be the reason her babies were screaming. In the meantime we were running laps with 7 piglets that would scatter like bowling pins. Through the wallows, and through the slippery slop we went. I fell on my hands and knees in the slop, and almost slid to my butt in the wallow. 10 minutes of chasing and the pigs were starting to tire, but not so much they didn’t stay out of reach, and we were also getting tired. Heck, we had BEEN tired! Finally I hid by the corner of the barn and the girl herded a couple of piglets over slowly. The first one that came around I fell on and held for dear life! This time it stayed caught (there had been many more attempts involving tarps and falling that I haven’t gone into) and together we dragged it kicking and screaming to the crate. I was never so happy to sit down! Until I smelled the van with the slop in that crate. Hint; don’t put pigs inside a vehicle for 2 hours of travel!
We have named the pigs Double and Trouble, and they are working hard in my garden area, but oh the adventure!