We had a group of 40+ students from Sterling College join us for a day at the farm and they helped us picking pumpkins from the trees (yes, you heard me correctly, our pigs planted a patch of pumpkins next to sumac trees so this year we had hanging pumpkins) and fed them to the pigs. The students were slightly surprised to see the pumpkins coming down from the trees...
This is the last week the piggies stay outside and some of the small ones have already started their come back to the barn. Mostly the smaller ones – there is a group of 12 that learned to run through the electric wire as fast as they can so they do not feel the electric shock. Yes… some pigs are smart … or just rebellious, because all they did once they got on the other side was to stand few feet away from their pen and hang out there (but oh boy does freedom taste good). Never mind now they are without food water or a shelter.
These are the same piglets that, once we got them inside the barn not only they got out their pen in about zero seconds (a record) but one of them decided to explore the hay loft!!!
This is the first pig in the history of pigs to go up a staircase of 12 or more steps!
Have you ever looked at the anatomy of a pig? Pigs are not made for stairs. They hate stairs. The only way this pig made it up there is if she took quite a bit of speed starting from the opposite end of the barn and then kept running leaping few steps at a time… an athlete, in few words. How I figured out the pig was up there? I heard weird noises from above. At first, I freaked out because what type of animal could make that noise up there? I thought of a mountain lion (of course I always think of the worst) and then I counted the piglets and a doubt started entering my head but… no… it cannot be. It was dark already so I called Stefano and the two of us slowly climbed the stairs wondering what in the world we would find up there. Yes, it was a piglet, running laps around the 20 X50 empty hay loft… She saw us and came over wagging her tail and then looked at the stairs and looked at us and it was clear from her look that she had no idea either how she got up there.
Lessons about pig management you will never learn from any course on pig and pork production: how to get a pig down a set of stairs. If you look at their back legs they do not bend backward, like ours, so their back legs are useless to help going down the stairs. So …fold the back legs under the pig and let her use the front legs to get down the steps. From a human point of view it looks like a weird version of a pig-sled. But it worked. My fear is that the little piglet taught it to everyone else so, tonight, when I come home, I will see a bunch of pigs running up the stairs and then pig-sledding down like in one of those Xmas movies where they show kids sledding down white hills covered in fluffy snow.
So that’s is for now from the farm where pumpkins grow on trees and pigs go sledding from the top of the hay loft.