8 Little Pigs

Posted in: Farm Life, Pigs | 3

No, not 3 little pigs, we have 8. Actually, we had asked for 10 a few months ago but sows don’t always produce the exact number of piglets that one orders so we have to make do with 8. We originally wanted 5 or 6 piglets but Andrew and Colleen said that they’d like some as well so we upped our request.

We picked them up from a local farm yesterday. They are fairly good size already, averaging about 30 pounds with one or two that felt like at least 40 pounds when being lifted, screaming and kicking, in and then out of the truck. The farmer kept them in his barn for a couple of weeks extra because of the cool weather but didn’t charge us any extra for the pounds they added during that time. Now the weather is nice and warm (actually it is humid and a bit hot) and the pigs have enough weight to withstand any cool nights.

Their breed is mostly Tamsworth, a heritage breed known for good rooting and grazing behaviour, with some Yorkshire mixed in. The Tamsworth contribute the reddish-brown colour and the Yorkshire the classic pink pig look (they call it white).

Here are a few pictures of the new arrivals with some more details about them:

8 piglets under tree
All 8 little pigs in their temporary training pen in the shade of a pine tree with nice soft needles (Great Eastern White Pine). We have read and heard that pigs’ instinctive reaction to the shock of an electric fence is to dart forward, through the fence. That not only breaks the fence but they learn in the process that they can get through the fence. So the advice is to train them to the electric fence by having a visual barrier behind it (in our case card board) so that they back up when shocked, instead of running forward. We are happy to report that it worked very well and within a few minutes, after a few little squeals when they touched the fence, they were keeping well clear of it, except for an occasional absent-minded lapse when rooting for something juicy.


pigs drinking whey
Pigs drinking whey which we get free from the Black River Cheese Factory, which is only 3 kms from here. The plant manager was happy to have one more farm picking up whey because they have a surplus of it these days and otherwise have problems getting rid of it. The pigs love the whey and it is very good for them, providing excellent protein, reducing the amount of grain we need to buy for them.
pigs at wallow
Mucking around in the wallow that we made for them under the tree. Pigs don’t sweat and have trouble keeping cool when it is hot so they need water or mud to help. Also, mud on their skin helps keep the lighter coloured ones from getting sun burned.


sunburned piglets
The reddish pink on the ears and shoulders doesn’t show too well in this picture (try double clicking the picture if it isn’t clear enough) but the 4 pigs that are lighter coloured were getting sunburned yesterday, the first day of their lives in which they were not in a dark barn. Even though their training pen had much shade, they spent a lot of time in the sun. They liked the mud we provided for them but I couldn’t persuade them to roll around in it to get all their skin covered. Later in the day, after noticing the reddish pink getting worse, I decided to help them out and began mixing mud in a bucket and pouring it on them (actually throwing it at them because they were running around) . It seemed to help. I was also pleased to notice that almost immediately after being released from their little training area they started eating grass and weeds. Pigs that eat a lot of grass and weeds are not only very healthy but their meat is better for people. And it costs less to feed them because we don’t need to buy as much corn for them!
pigs eating goat food
The pigs and goats having a bit of a confrontation. At first I wasn’t pleased that the pigs were moving in this evening to eat the goats’ food but the end result was good. The goats had been very afraid of the pigs before that. They huddled together on the far side of the 1/3 acre paddock bleating at me to tell me that some kind of monsters had invaded their territory. Last evening I used their favourite treats to coax them to come near the pigs training paddock to see for themselves that 8 little pigs couldn’t hurt them. But as soon as one of the little pigs gave a small grunt, all 12 goats turned and fled in a panicky stampede. Even the goat we call “Old One,” who is older and walks with a bad limp, galloped away as fast as the little kids, with her heels flying in the air. All day today the goats remained edgy and upset, staying clustered together, but when the pigs started to try and take their food this evening, the goats began to stand up for themselves and try and stop them. It must have been good for them to see that the pigs would back off when confronted by a nanny goat with horns. Even the little 5 month old buck found that he could make the piglets back off when he made it look like he might butt them. Hopefully the goats will begin to be able to begin to relax while sharing their paddock with pigs.


We have a short video of the pigs playing around but YouTube is having difficulty loading it so we’ll try that in a day or two.




3 Responses

  1. Ted Goshulak

    When do the sheep come?

  2. BobandSheila

    Well Ted. I (and especially Sheila) think that we are at the maximum that we can handle right now. But if you and Jenny would like to move here and take on the role of shepherd, we would welcome having some sheep on the property!

  3. Jonathan

    Are you saying that now would not be a great time to suggest that the farm needs a horse? 🙂

    Thanks for the pig pictures. See you tomorrow.

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