This morning our youngest daughter and I got to participate in pig transportation. I didn’t enjoy it at all. I need to start with yesterday.
The neighbor showed up with a small horse trailer in the afternoon to provide the pig transportation. We cajoled, begged, pleaded, and offered treats to get Charlotte and/or Lucy to take a step inside the transport mobile. Nothing doing. The neighbor even ended up flat on his back after trying to force Charlotte in. She wasn’t having any of it.
We decided to hold off on the morning feeding until he got there so the girls could be led in with food. The neighbor arrived and I swear all four pigs stopped mid-step when they heard that diesel engine rumble into the driveway. I wouldn’t have been surprised if Charlotte thought “Round 2. Let’s get ready to rumble folks”.
The neighbor and I were in the paddock and my daughter on the outside holding the electric fence. The neighbor was getting pretty frustrated at their reluctance to get inside the trailer and went to grab a rope. Nope. I’m sorry, some people may do it this way, but these are MY babies and you aren’t ‘hog-tying’ them. I will call this whole thing off before that happens.
I said “How about if I take the feed in the trailer and lead them in that way?” He said “Well, I guess we can try it”. I shook the bucket and four hungry piggies come running to me. I held it in front of Charlotte and stepped into the trailer backwards. She was mighty hungry. She stepped right on up and I put some on the floor of the trailer for her reward. They closed the door behind her and Charlotte and I took a ride together in the back of the horse trailer. She is not big on travelling, and as she did when hubby brought her home last summer, started dropping pig patties at my feet. “Thanks!”
She unloaded really well. I couldn’t be more proud of her, even though she was scared. Heck, the size of the boar “Grunt” not “Bubba” as originally posted, scares ME! I jumped in the cab of the truck to warm up and we headed back to our place to get Lucy. I am not ashamed right now to admit that I cried while leaving her. She’s just a baby. Her first time away from home, and how do I know she will be taken care of, loved on, talked to, and fed as lovingly as I take care of her?
When we got back to the farm, I did exactly the same with Lucy, and she jumped right on in, along with Abraham. He’s a pig. Food is food, who cares if he has to go for a ride. I distracted Lucy with feed while they got Abraham out of the pig transportation mobile.
Lucy and I got to go for a ride together. She didn’t take it as calmly as Charlotte did, but didn’t leave presents at my feet, so that was a plus. She kept trying to nose the trailer door open and I was envisioning chasing a Hereford hog down the lane, all while being bounced around like the worst roller coaster ride ever.
Lucy would rather have taken a return trip home once I got her off the trailer. Poor girl. She took a few steps in to her temporary abode and turned around and headed straight back out towards the trailer. I had to coax and nudge her back towards Grunt. My heart was breaking again. How do people do this all the time?
I asked the neighbor if he would mind if I took pictures of them. He looked at me like I was an alien but said to go ahead. Charlotte may be out of estrus by now, but Lucy is just getting started. Grunt was much more taken with Lucy than Charlotte, for which Charlotte looked thankful (do I personify the pigs too much?).
I vowed while watching my girls that I would be more educated about their cycles, and keep better track so we can do AI in the future. This was stressful on me, and I’m sure even more so for my girls.
Here are a few pictures of them at their temporary digs…along with Grunt, who was quite taken with Lucy. I hope she survives!