It a good life for these little pigs.
“Hey, mom, you got some cash I can borrow? I’m going to pick something up I bought on Craig’s list.” I answer my son Alex’s request affirmatively and leave cash on the table as I head out the door. In the back of my mind, I’m thinking, He isn’t going to buy pigs, is he? Then I assure myself he couldn’t because they would never fit in the back of his black Minnie Cooper.
A few hours later I am back home and he calls me outside and lifts the hatchback of his car. Inside a cage sits two terrified and stinky potbelly pigs. I wish I’d had my phone with me to take a picture of that scene.
Alex named them General Lee and General Grant and is pointing to General Lee’s sideburn in this picture above.
Of course my husband is out of town when all this happens. We don’t know the first thing about raising pigs, so Alex puts them in the garage in an old fire pit ring and we head to the local feed supply store. While there, we happen upon six baby turkeys for sale. I knew my husband had wanted a few turkeys, so I call him and before I know it we are heading home with six baby turkeys and food for all our new friends. My husband had read that baby turkeys do everything they can to kill themselves the first three weeks of their life, but after that time period they are very hardy. We bought all six turkeys figuring only half of them would survive.
The next day, Alex is transporting the Generals to the outside chicken coop beside the area our 17 laying chickens call home. In the process, General Grant gets out and we spend the next few hours looking for him with no success. We go inside and pray that he will wonder back home before dark to be with his buddy.
Right before supper I hear a commotion in the garage and go out to see what is going on. Alex and several of his friends, who had just happened to be over to play a board game, come running out whispering “we have to surround him.”
They had spotted General Grant sneaking his way along the tree line towards General Lee’s location. It became a wild pig chase with lots of laughter, running, and huffing with Alex finally tackling the pig. I had no idea how fast those little guys could run. I wish I had video taped it.
While we were so relieved General Grant wouldn’t be on the coyote’s menu that night, the story doesn’t end there. The next day, I was in class all day, my husband is still out of town, and I come home to find there are three more potbelly pigs in the pig-chicken coop area. My son and his wife had purchased three more pigs they found on Craig’s list while I was gone. And yes, they transported them in the back of their Minnie Cooper.
We decided to move all the pigs to a larger fenced in area next to our garden. Originally this area had been part of our garden but was now overgrown with weeds. The pigs could fertilize this area and dig up all the weeds with their snouts and hopefully we could use it for a garden again next year.
Although the pigs seem happy with their new area, they still are very afraid of us. We’ve had them for almost four weeks now and slowly they are beginning to trust us. We take them food scraps and cracked corn(their version of candy) and each time they get a little more comfortable with us. The picture below is the closest I have ever been to them.
I don’t know why, but I really love these little guys and one gal. I am hoping with time they will let me give them a few pets.
Having these animals on the farm, knowing they will eventually be killed, is hard. It has made me realize how little I think about the food I put on our plates. It’s easy to never think much about the animal or the farmer who takes daily care of them. While I know most pigs are raised in poor commercial style conditions, our pigs will enjoy freedom to roam and push their snouts about in the dirt. While I dread the day we will have to say goodbye to them, our goal is that they have only one bad day in their life, their last. My husband’s philosophy is to give them the best life we can because they will give their lives for us.
We have also added 25 more chickens(fryers) and three bee hives, which I’ll share about in a future post. Overnight our farm animal population has exploded. Although we are true rookies, we feel good about making The Noah Farm a true farm again and giving these animals a good life.