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Hog Wild

Posted 7/14/2011 5:07am by Julie Hurst / Roy Brubaker.

Our farm is being overrun with addicts and juvenile gangs in little pigs clothing.   They look cute, with their dainty little feet and long lashes emphasizing clear, intelligent-looking eyes, but they are bad!

We first discovered the posse of juvie pigs this past weekend when we went out to feed the pigs in the morning.   In a pasture partitioned off for Bob to graze, seven little pig butts were bobbing in the air while they rooted for worms and grubs under some old hay.  They didn't see us so we just watched, rather amused at the sight.  Around that time Bob decided he too should head to the barn for a little social time.   More amusing still was watching the panic spread through this little troop when their heads came up for air and they realized a very large, long-legged creature was walking among then.   The tough bravado disappeared and they went sprinting for the comfort of mama's pen.   Problem is their little bottoms are growing quicker than they realize and finding places they can squeeze under or through the fence, especially in a state of panic, is getting harder.  There are two especially plump little piggies that just can't make it back in unless they run all the way around the barn to a larger hole;  it is a dash that could challenge a world class sprinter.   These little sneaks seem to enjoy a good bit of freedom when we are not watching.  Yesterday Charles and Jimmy stopped by to borrow our trailer.  Apparently they too had surprised the little delinquents.  As I was watching from the yard I saw two little piggies quickly and silently dash behind the men, who were totally unaware that they had broken up a little youth party.    We are hoping their stature increases before their total independence or we are truly in trouble. 

The feeder pigs are causing other sorts of trouble.   They have developed a serious milk addiction.   Every couple weeks, Charles has a cow that freshens (has a calf) and we get several days of bucket milk that cannot go into his bulk tank.   It is great for pigs.  Love is not a strong enough word for how they feel about cow milk.  They can hear our little wagon trundling down road carrying several five-gallon buckets as soon as we leave the Kline farm and they come running to line up along the fence waiting to attack.   Mind you, these pigs are no longer cute little piglets.   Most of them are nearing 200 lbs.  Their eyes look especially feral from the dust they have been rolling in.  The other day I pulled into the barn yard with my wagon and saw that line of pigs jostling about, squealing and nipping each other for a better position and I decided, even though I felt a bit like the Beatles,  this was really a job for Roy.   I parked the wagon out of sight and went on to other business.  

Actually the best way to handle the milk situation is with two people and Mac, although I'm not totally convinced Mac's energy is really helpful here, but he does create some distraction.  Last night Roy had a late meeting and I was feeling rather brave.   I poured the milk into three easy-to-manage buckets, sent Mac in to clear the way and made a mad dash for the trough with ten pigs squealing behind me.  I got half the milk poured before I was surrounded and jostled, spilling a good bit of the milk onto the backs of the crazed pigs.   That scene, more or less, repeated itself a couple more times before the milk was gone and the pigs were satiated.   Then Mac and I decide to have a little fun.  On these hot, dusty days I often take the hose from the water tank and spray the pigs.   They like the mud it makes and Mac loves the spray.   Ten now-calm pigs loll about shivering the water from their backs and rolling over to plaster themselves in cool mud while one crazed, super-hyper dog dashes about leaping in an attempt to catch every drop of water in his mouth.  The contrast in the nature of these creatures creates a comic scene that I enjoy.   I can forgive their bad, milk-crazed behavior if in the end they amuse, rather than eat, me.  

And... then there is Ebony the bottle pig.  Suffice it to say, she has issues, but who doesn't.   I'll save her for another week.