Time to put the piglets out in the pasture

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Time to put the piglets out in the pasture
3/10/2014 3:54:12 AM

We have had one freeze after another here in Texas.  As well as a series of rains.  This has forced us to keep our fairly new born piglets up at the barn to do everything in our power to keep them alive through the nasty weather of late.  Unfortunately this is bad for a couple of reasons.  1) There is nothing friendly about keeping critters in the barn and not on pasture.  2) The barn is now destroyed with mud soup all over the place.  Time to haul the mamas and their babies out to the paddocks.

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(family members - click the photo above for your albums)

To take the pigs out to the field is a special ordeal.  Pigs are generally ok with loading into the trailer.  After all, the trailer is full of food and a pig is always driven by food.  But, as a pig farmer there is really only one thing you must know about pigs.

“You can get a pig to go where ever it wants too!”

Knowing this we do our best to ensure that there is only one path between a barn stall the back of the trailer.  We start by backing the trailer into the barn in such a way that it is very hard to go around the trailer.

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Once we have the channel created, we put some plywood in the trailer to keep the food from falling through.

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As soon as the food hits the floor it starts a chain reaction of frantic pig overdrive as they begin to test their boundaries.  FOOD?  DID I HEAR FOOD?

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The kids all climb to their view of the slightly controlled chaos that is about to begin.

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And then we let them out.  A sea of pork came flowing from their stalls.

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And went every which way.  Especially the opposite way from where we wanted them to go.

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They eventually realized where the food was and headed this way.

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And then slipped under the trailer to try to get out of the barn entirely.

Of course there are no photos beyond that point as there was a lot of yelling and swearing from all involved.  They are too big to fit under the trailer thankfully and turned around.  They all loaded up eventually.  Then we had to catch the 20 or so babies that were squirting everywhere.  Thankfully the babies don’t leave their mamas grunts so they are eventually easy to catch.

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As you can see the barn expansion was sort of stopped in its tracks in order to house all the piggers through the cold.  And they destroyed their areas!  But I am sure they had fun doing it.  And we lost zero pigs to the cold…just to clumsy mamas.

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With everyone loaded and the barn put back to normal we were able to catch a few fun photos of the pig families and ours.

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Then it was time to get moving.  We had to get the mamas and their brood out to paddock number one.  With a trailer attached to the dually this means we had to go to the back paddock and drive up (can’t make the turn into paddock one..need to fix that).

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On the way out to the paddocks the babies took advantage of their mamas which are pretty much done with the whole nursing thing.

 

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The entire way out to the paddock the kids were singing “doh a deer, a female deer, ray…”

Once we got the trailer into the appropriate paddock we got ready to let the piggers out.

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Lets those piggers free into the friendly pastures that await.

With all these pigs back in the field it was time to turn some attention to their housing.  Thankfully we still had their house from the first night in our first big freeze.  We turned it 90 degrees so that the opening didn’t open to the uphill stream bed where all the rain runs.  We then covered the leading edge of the house with dirt to help direct the flow of water around the house.  Then we put down a rail road tie in front of the house to keep more water out.  And we loaded up the inside of the house with more fresh fluffy dirt and hay.  They should be good now!

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And by “we”…I mean ME, Jess, and the boys!  No…the kids aren’t the only ones that work on this farm.  I just have a hard time slinging dirt and taking selfies with a duck face or that stupid tongue thing kids do these days!

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Quick check up on the pig families.  Looks like everyone is good to go.

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Until next time folks!  Farmer Andy signing off…

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