We had just moved to the farm October 2nd, our first week had been a whirlwind of events. Three weeks later we were still unpacking boxes and trying to get ourselves organized when a friend tagged Larry in a facebook post about a pig for sale in our area and he jokingly tagged Caitlin. Our new home had come with a small chest freezer and if anything it would be a great thing to stock it with local pork…also a lot of other people had already commented and jumped on the opportunity…so it will be fine and the pig was probably already sold.
Oh We Were Wrong.
By the time Larry got home, Caitlin had contacted the farm and had three days to clean out and set up a space in the barn for the sow and her five piglets. They were under four weeks old and not ready to be weaned. Not many people are willing or able to take on pigs in winter. Caitlin scrambled to clean out the first calving stall in our large 100 year old barn from who knows how many years of items that had been stored in it.
Pick Up Day
Thankfully the farmer was also a semi truck driver and able to back the trailer up. Pigs are never easy to load especially if you have not done it in years. The sow ended up under the trailer at one point before we finally got her loaded. Even having her piglets in the trailer was not motivation enough.
The Drive Home
The drive home went smooth...if you don't count her bucking the trailer the whole drive. Once we got home unloading was a whole nother story. She wanted a warm dry safe space for her and her babies and we had that set up in the barn. Just communicating that to her did not go smoothly. Before the end of it the sow decided to go for a run around the yard with Larry chasing behind and Caitlin trying to keep it together and not giggle while trying to coach Larry to stop chasing and what to do to bring her back around to the barn. Finally we got her and all of her piglets settled into their nice new pen space.
Mama pig as we ended up calling her and her 5 piglets were our very first pigs on the farm. Mama in a way took us under her wing and taught us a lot about pigs and was the start to our breeding program. Caitlin wanted to start with pigs and had raised feeder pigs in summer before, but this is our first foray into farrow to finish. As with everything in farming there is a large learning curve and you always have that one animal that starts you out and teaches you so much.