And your pigs to be patient
As I said to Trent today, I never thought the learning curve for raising pigs was going to be so steep. These animals are vexing. They show no circumspection whatsoever. They hurtle everywhere. They dive into the feed trough. They hurtle from one end of the pasture to another. Mom's in the lead while the piglets tread incautiously beneath her teats hoping to get a suck in during the rare moment when she isn't racing somewhere. Obviously they are oblivoious of the fact that if they falter, Mom will crush their skull with her hind feet.
The pigs even hurtle to sleep. A 200 pund pig gets tired, she falls over like a tree and she falls asleep. And when she is asleep, she rushes through that too.
Not so comfortable on this side? Fine. I'll slam myself over onto this side. Never mind that I have 10 piglets sleeping next to me. F--k that. I must be comfortable!
Then BAM! Two piglets are dead. Blivet. Gone. Into the compost pile or the wood furnace that takes care of all of the dairy's heating and hot water needs.
Feeding time is always a trip. The pigs go hog-wild when they think they can get a lot of food without having to do any work. I've grown used to seeing them stampede the slop trough when they see me walking over from the kitchen with a bucket of scraps. (Frankly, this makes perfect sense to me as there is rarely anything in that bucket that I would not eat myself if I was hungry enough. It's usually bristling with skimmed fat and meat from the stock pot, scraps of bread, cheese rinds, broken eggs not fit for sale. You know, really wonderful stuff.) They are like a bunch of kids racing up to touch Bozo's hair: frantic.
In short, pigs are not like most humans. They are the Jim Morrisons and Janis Joplins of farm animals. I saw Janis perform once. Believe me, I love her, but she was hitting on a bottle of Southern Comfort the whole time and running around the stage and falling down like a sow cutting through a pile of sour mash. After 30 minutes She was banging into everything, turning over amps, knocking known her mike stand, slurring lyrics. She was stampeding the stage like a hog at slopping time.
This morning at about 9 o'clock during a fervid attempt to engorge herself on grain, a Janis among our Duroc sows knocked over the feed box killing one of 10 day old piglets and injuring another. Of course the kids found out about what happened first and came running up to tell us that the injured pig had a broken leg and the other piglet was dead and somebody needed to do do something.
So Trent tells them to go down and bring up the hurt pig so he can fix her leg. The piglet was trembling the entire time. Her skin was cool to the touch and I was afraid she was in shock. But then while I was watching Trent move the leg around I noticed that the bones seemed fine. There did not appear to be a break. Later, after the piglet had been returned to the pasture I said to Trent "That pig didn't have a broken leg. did it?"
Trying not to look me in the eyes he said " Sometimes the lesson learned from something is more important than knowing the truth of what happened."