My brother is raising pigs for the first time. He started raising chickens about two years ago and is now quite the expert. His four pigs arrived in September, not as adorable babies but as pretty cute youngsters nonetheless. They lived in the field next to his house until late in the fall when he brought them to the farm — about four miles from his house — to live in the old barn next to our farmhouse. This way, they have shelter.
Pigs are smart animals. We’re told that whenever the subject comes up. And so it’s not easy to contemplate their fate. These four eat a lot as you’d expect and like just about anything (no onions, please!). They even ate our friend David’s glasses’ lens when it popped out of the frame. They also seem to spend a good amount of time figuring out ways to break free from their enclosure and run higgelty-piggelty down the lane.
Our farmer Matt raises his own pigs near the main barn and because swine are susceptible to disease, he can’t go near Dick’s pigs and Dick can’t get near his. They could pass pig germs back and forth and endanger all the pigs. This means Matt can’t catch the pigs when they escape and so Dick has to drive over from his place to put them back in their very comfortable pen (comfy for a pig at any rate!).
The pigs have gained weight rather slowly and evidently they must reach a certain heft before they can be, well, you know. Turned into bacon and pork chops. Dick was convinced they weighed less than 200 pounds and David (the guy with only one lens in his glasses) thought they were heavier. Matt, gazing at the hogs from a safe distance, thinks they are too small to slaughter. This morning my brother turned to the internet to find out how to tell how much a pig weighs. Evidently it’s the animal’s length from ears to the base of the tail multiplied by girth and then multiplied again by girth and finally, divided by 400.
After a while down at the barn with the tape measure, the guys came back to the house (and fireplace; it was cold outside!) and did the math. It seems Dick owes David $10. The pigs are well over 200 pounds.
I spent a little time with these four porkers yesterday. They are pretty interesting to watch, as are most animals. But let me tell you something. They smell. Their odor clings, lingers — not nicely like a good perfume. But then, hey! They are pigs.
copyright © Mary Goodbody