So I went out this morning to check on our little piggers. They were alive, so we got them past that first night. They were cold; silly things didn't go inside for the night, even though they had a shed and a Dogloo in which to sleep. Hmmmm...I thought pigs were supposed to be the smartest farm animals?
We have found pigs to be very entertaining. Later in the summer I'll post about bathing them. No, I don't go out with soap and bubbles, but they do like being hosed down in hot weather. They run and play in the spray, and shake like dogs. Happy pigs--and pigs on Pine Ridge Farm are always happy--run and play together when they get the chance.
Although we raise them on the ground, John does not allow them to be fully pastured. They have a pen to play in and dig in, but he doesn't want to be chasing pigs through the pastures. We have done that; it wasn't pretty. Watching them dig and root for bugs and roots can be a relaxing way to while away an hour or so on a hot day.
But that digging makes them well-suited for other purposes, too. Pigs are nature's rototillers. Many people talk of putting their pigs in their gardens in the fall, to dig out the bugs and larvae, to turn compost over and till it in, and to leave a little extra fertilizer while they do that. I don't get to use them that way...until this year.
Last year, we raised 4 sheep. We meant to raise them on grass, but, somehow, their pasture didn't get fenced, and they spent the summer in a pen. They were very wasteful of their hay, and we ended up with a mound of trashed hay, about 3' thick, right under their hayrack.
I hinted, and ask, and, finally, offered money, to get anyone of my family to dig out that hay and put it on the compost. There it still sits. (Even money didn't motivate them! Not that I blame them; it's nasty work.) So when I came home with the pigs yesterday, I just popped them into that pen. An hour later, they had already made quite a dent.
In addition, they dug along the fenceline.
And their shed.
In fact, they hadn't touched their food this morning. I think they found enough old hay, sheep feed, worms and grubs in that pile that they didn't get hungry! I'm sure that will change. But they're better than the horses, in that they're grateful to be fed. Horses look at you like, "Yeah, it's about time, pinhead." Pigs say, "WOO HOO! Feeding time!" Makes them a lot of fun to be around!