Our First Pig

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We read a lot of books on farming, my husband more than I do. The goal for our farm is to raise grassfed animals. It makes the meat healthier to eat, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money on feed. With this goal in mind, we have been thinking for a while that we would buy a pig to raise. Our next-door neighbor’s son raises pigs and sells the babies for his homeschool project, so, of course, we wanted to buy one from him.

One Saturday afternoon we decided to stop by to see when the pigs would be ready. He said they were just about 5 weeks old so we could take one with us right then. I am not sure we were prepared but why not. We seem to learn as we go anyway. So they put the pig in a feed sack so we could get him home, which was just around the corner. He was a little bigger than I pictured a 5-week-old pig to be so there was no holding him on your lap plus he was pretty feisty.

We went home and put him down in the pen with the goats and chickens. He was pretty calm when he came out of the bag. It took a couple minutes for him to realize that he was free to roam. He was in a box with his mother and no room to go anywhere at our neighbors’ farm. Once he started running, he didn’t stop. He ran around the perimeter of the fence. That’s it, we thought, never going to catch him again. He ran and ran, chased the goats and chickens and ran some more. Was he ever going to tire himself out?

We figured that we should introduce the dog to him since he is always in the pen with the animals. Max, our black Lab, went right over to him and instantly they became friends. We realized the pig just wanted a friend. The goats didn’t want anything to do with him. After a couple days they started to tolerate him.

When we got this pig he was taken away from his mother so he really wasn’t weaned. My poor goat Ginger, who is nursing her baby, was being harassed by the pig. He wanted some milk, too. Since I had just started milking Ginger a little in the morning to get her used to the milking stand, we decided to give that milk to the pig mixed with his food. We had to separate the pig from Ginger because he really wouldn’t leave her alone. We have some electric netting fence that we just started using, so time to move the pig. Well, that was a crazy task in itself. So how do you move a pig from one pen to the next? We didn’t know, and he was difficult to catch and handle. So my idea was to take a rope, add a slip knot and catch him around the neck. After trying for about 20 minutes, we got him and, of course, he freaked out. He squealed and carried on. Tom was able to pull him to the next fence area, but it was a feat. He pretty much didn’t want anything to do with us for a while after that.

We put the baby goat in with him at night since he needed a friend. Well, baby goat got his horn caught on something and was bleeding. I was holding him to stop the bleeding and what do you know, that pig came right up to me and tried climbing onto my lap with the goat. I couldn’t believe this pig; it was so cute and funny. Well, he has calmed down over the last couple days and doing better. He seems to enjoy the company of the little chickens and the baby goat at night. My goal is not to get attached to this little pig since he is going to be dinner once fall comes. If you would like to learn more about my hobby farm, visit my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/conleyfarm.