Piglet Wrangling

These are pig-fattening stations…the swine are fed here.  Anyway, I was a pig man.  As the prophet Daniel warned King Nebuchadnezzar, “They shall drive thee from among men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field.”  Saul Bellow, Henderson the Rain King

OK, that quote doesn’t have much to do with anything, but I always pay attention to pig stuff in any book I happen to be reading or, more often these days, listening to.

We moved the sows and the boar into their winter shelter this week, but we temporarily booted them out today to catch piglets for weaning.  There was one sow in the lower pasture that ventured up to the hoophouse when we opened it on Wednesday, but her piglets never came up the lane until this morning.  Once I saw that the piglets were in the house, I tempted the older pigs out with some mushy apples and locked the piglets in.  Then the piglet roundup began.  Since this sow had a small litter (just seven) and since she was in good condition and since we were busy building the hoophouse (everything we do is multivariate) we never separated these piglets until today.  While the proceedings went well with no drama, escapes, or injuries to humans or pigs, catching and moving an eight week old piglet feels like twice as much work as doing the same with a six week old.  Those few extra pounds disproportionately translate to a lot more wriggle-power.

Rachel with Piglet

“#@%*!”, quoth the piglet.  The kids ran the interference patterns, Rachel did the tackling, and I did the carrying.  We’ve been doing this long enough that (dare I say it?) we’re starting to get good at it.

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