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Flying Pigs

Posted 2/10/2011 6:15pm by Julie Hurst / Roy Brubaker.

Last weekend was the annual Farming for the Future conference put together by Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA).   I always learn a lot at this conference and last week was no exception.  On Thursday I went to several workshops on raising  and marketing pigs.  Mike Yezzi of Flying Pigs Farm was there and the crowd had a lot of questions for him. But while I get many questions about our farm name,  no one, including me, asked him about the whimsical name of his farm.  Today however, I may have discovered the source of the name.

Roy is at a training all week so I've been picking up a few extra farm chores.  (My skid steer driving skills are improving -- I think the barn doors and roof are reasonably safe now.)  Yesterday when I went to feed the pigs in the afternoon I found a large, hungry sow and a few plump piglets scarfing down the last bag of pig feed left in the feed aisle. They had happily emptied it into the hay and dust and then seemed to believe it was too dirty to actually eat.   I was suspicious that they had learned out to open the gate, but so far they have not repeated the trick.  This morning my errands included stopping by the feed mill for another bag.  When I got home the pigs were tired of rooting for kernels of corn and crowded around to get to their chop.  Watching pigs eat is only half the fun; listening to them gives credence to your mother's command "don't eat like a pig!"   They smack their jowls and grunt and squeal, food and dirt smeared all over their snouts.   I've been trying to tame the little pigs so when the chop was distributed to the feeders I sat down to watch. Curious piglets tentatively came to smell my boots but as soon as I put my hand out to scratch their backs, they scurried out of reach.  At the long trough closest to me a line of piglets faced off against the largest sow.  As I watched, a piglet apparently got into her trough space.  She lifted her snout and flipped the little guy head over heels out of the trough.   He squealed his protest and trotted off to another trough.  "I guess she doesn't know her own strength," I naively concluded.  Two minutes later, the episode repeated itself.  Out of the corner of my eye I saw a piglet flying and flipping through the air.  These girls are serious about their food,  but so are their progeny.   Undaunted the piglet squirmed to its feet and trotted off to find more agreeable dining companions.