The Face-off with Miss Pig
I grew up with sweet little Jersey cows on our family farm in Ohio. Cows that each had names and most, that were so gentle and friendly, that you could lead them around anywhere and never feel threatened or endangered. (There were of course a few meanies in the group though!) Overall, they were sweet cows to grow up around. They still are. I heart big-brown eyed Jerseys!
When I met my husband and went home to visit HIS family farm (now OUR family farm), this was really my first introduction to pigs. We had some feeder pigs growing up that we fed to market weight, but only 25 to 50 at one time. Big D went home often during college and worked numerous weekends on his family's farm. So I decided I wanted to help him during my first visit and learn more about raising hogs. Boy was I in for an adventure in hog farming. I figured since I'd been around livestock ALL my life, pigs wouldn't be much different. So. Wrong.
At the time, I was sorta taken away watching Big D work - knowing he was the man I wanted to marry - slowly beginning to realize pigs would be part of my life. Right before we were married and took over the family farm, Big D's father was still raising some hogs outside. Since it was quite sunny that day, we needed to pull the shade over the Cargill floor (outdoor facility with lean-to shed available for shade) to keep the piggies from getting sunburnt. Big D climbed atop the lean-to and I waited for instruction in the pen below with about 12 or so female pigs (gilts) roaming around me.
|The pigs we used to raise outside were ALWAYS dirty and could easily get sunburnt.|
|Today, most of our hogs are raised in climate controlled buildings. |
They are so clean, they almost look like show pigs!
At first, I think most of the (250 pound) pigs were pretty frightened by me, except this one for the sake of reference, I have named Miss Pig. She took one look at me and I swear she knew I had NO experience with pigs and she was going to take me down! Miss Pig had her eyes square on mine and I had no idea what she was about to do. My first thought was maybe I should just run or climb on the fence, but at the time I really didn't want to look like a sissy girl that couldn't handle working on the farm. She took one step toward me. I asked Big D - "should I be worried about that pig, that one right there." He said - "nah you're fine - just keep an eye on her." Ok ... but ...
Then it happened - Miss Pig ran at me with her short little midget legs. I didn't have time to make a move except to move my legs enough apart hoping she would take that route and not bite me on the way through my make-shift tunnel! Well she made her move running at me snorting and grunting at what seemed like a record-breaking speed for a midget animal. Unfortunately, it didn't all add up - she was a little too fat for my best attempt at a tunnel, so as she ran through, I closed my eyes and before I knew it I was flat on my butt - Miss Pig had taken me down. I'm thinking I better get up and drag myself outta this pen before she comes back for round 2. I feel as if I'm a clown in a rodeo arena at this point.
Meanwhile, Big D is laughing so hard tears are streaming down his face and I'm thinking my life may be on line if Miss Pig gets her chance at me again. I scurried outta that pen, my heat rate is far above normal levels and I start to think - this is my future. I do not like pigs right now so much. My Jerseys would never do this to me. Well that's not exactly true - Jersey bulls are some of the meaniest cattle (of any breed) in the world of livestock. I would never set foot in a pen with a Jersey bull without a shot of liquid courage first.
Well I survived the Miss Pig incident without injury except to my once quite confident farm girl ego. How could a measly midget-legged pig take me down? Never again, Miss Pig, never again.
Seven years later, I still have no idea what these pigs are thinking and that they possibly may still want to try to take me out. Big D is so good to them, they might just want me out of the picture. LOL! For now, I'm basically 100 percent comfortable working with the baby pigs - since they're just working out the kinks in walking, I'm pretty confident they're aren't going to come at me anytime soon.
I can handle these guys! Still at the cute size here.
|The baby pigs are always a BIG hit during farm tours.|