We had a heck of a time getting the pigs in the trailer today. The Old Man went out this morning and dumped in a bunch of grass and four of the six pigs walked onto the trailer.
We should have pulled the ramp and shut the main door and took those babies to the butcher right then and there because from there on out we had nothing but trouble.
My job was to keep the pigs in the trailer once they were in. I did great until it was time for the last pig. By then, the pigs on the trailer were tired of the treats (eggs, apples and some scraps of bread) and no longer impressed with the little switch I used to snap them on the nose when they looked a little too longingly at the door or stepped too close to the ramp.
One by one they started sizing me up and eyeing the exit, then they’d make a break for it. The Old Man and the kids would get one back on and then I’d loose two more.
After a bit of this little dance we decided to keep the two actually left on the trailer and take a break for lunch.
After our break The Old Man and the kids were able to load two more of the pigs quite easily and he won the job of keeping them in the trailer while the kids and I herded the fifth pig. Not bad. We definitely learned how to work together to guide the pig into the “funnel” and up the ramp.
The sixth pig, number 11, had been difficult the whole day. We struggled with him a bit. The pigs on the trailer got restless so we removed the ramp and shut the door and decided to drop off the five and come back and get the last pig, making two trips to the butcher.
Not ideal but none of this has been ideal.
We’ve learned a lot about how not to move a pig and plan to make some improvements to the system next year.
One thing is certain. Farming often takes a team and the kids really stepped up today. We couldn’t have gotten those pigs loaded without them. They’re hard and cheerful workers even when something’s terribly frustrating. I’m thankful for farming if for no other reason then for the kids to learn how to do things even when it’s difficult and seems impossible.
Calf Update: No 31 is doing much the same. Eating bits and nursing electrolytes from the bottle. Tomorrow I plan to make another call to the vet just to check in. He is still very weak and I’m thankful for the kids who helped bottle-feed him throughout the day, in between hog wrangling, and as the Old Man and I made our trips to the butcher.