Written By: Caroline
There are a lot of not so glamorous moments when raising a barn full of pigs! As you can imagine there is a lot of work to be done, a lot of messy clothing, a good amount of sweat, and days that may even be filled with heart break and tears.
Raising pigs is not for physically or mentally weak. It's tough! There are a lot of days that wear me out and make me wonder what I are doing...
However, the good days remind me why I love raising pigs. When I get to witness a birth that goes smoothly and watch the mom interact with her new babies. I am sure that this is the same with all animals and their young, but since my barn is filled with mini pigs this is what I get to witness.
This week, my mini pig mommies all decided to give birth during the same week. It's like they make a pact to go into labor together! Hahaha! There are a whole bunch of pocket size mini pigs running around with in their stalls with their mini pig moms. It's just too cute! But there is much more to it than just cute little pigs...
SO now my barn is filled with these amazing little noises that are peaceful and so interesting to listen to as they surround me. The moms sing to their young while they nurse in this very soft and gentle sound. The piglets talk to mom about everything. There are these tiny little voices that chatter on and fill the barn in a sort of chorus. It's amazing to listen to how they communicate.
When I step into a space where mom and babies live, I get a whole new conversation as momma pig tells me off and says get out! The mommy pigs are very protective of their newborns and do their very best to keep them safe and protected.
They build them beautiful nests in the hay and hide them. They keep them warm and feed them every hour. The babies are scared and timid and mom reassures them that everything will be okay.
Watching and listening to these new young pig families is one of the most relaxing and enjoyable parts of my day!
written by: Caroline
It's always amazing to me how society underestimates the brains of animals. When people get a pig, I always explain they are like having 3-year-olds in your life. Their intelligence is amazing and horrible all at the same time! Pigs are so smart that they learn tricks and training so fast, but they also learn bad habits just as quickly. Pigs are able to manipulate their humans just like toddlers do on a daily basis. Pigs are also amazing problem solvers. Their intelligence is not limited to basic ideas or tricks that their humans introduce them to, and I photographed great evidence of their power of problem solving.
The photo below is the first picture. Talk notice of the blue food bucket and the cinder block's location and position.
Upon my return to the barn later in the day, here is the second photo of what I found...
My smart sasssy piggy figured out how to get her short self to the food! She saw the prize and she started thinking.... how to solve her problem.
Pigs are amazing in how they see the world and they think like humans. I can just see her sitting there and analyzing the whole situation.
Now, I have to put the food somewhere else, because getting to the food bucket is almost a cool enrichment game for her. So now that I store the food bucket elsewhere, she is off and thinking about how to solve her next problem.
I know that my smarty brainiac pig will find a new problem to solve and make me shake my head at her next cool solution!
written by: caroline
I realize that I have been living with mini pigs for 7 years and I still love it! As I sit here in my hammock with a sweet baby pig who is being socialized, I realize it's time for me to really share what it's like to live with a barn full of mini pigs.
Sure there are a lot of mini pig owners out there in the world who tell their stories, but even in multi-pig households there are only a few at work together.
The stories I have on a daily basis are amazing. These pigs keep life lively and entertaining and even frustrating at times. Let's be honest - they can be very frustrating.
A little about me first... I am an administrator at an arts school and work with children and teachers all day long. Then I come home to my ridiculous toddler pig school here in my barn. It's not much different than my day! Education is the key to success. Understanding the piglets is the only way to get through to them. I have to communicate effectively or they don't retain what I am teaching or they learn it all wrong.
Raising pigs is 100 percent like raising children. Mini pigs are excellent readers of who they can manipulate and how to test the waters with each person they encounter.
So enough about the basics that we all know.... let's get into storytime!
SO in my family - I am in charge of the pigs and no one else... lol
Last week at about 7am, my husband turns on the lights while I am still happily in dreamland and announces one of YOUR pigs escaped and the neighbor is downstairs.
Well, good morning to me! haha I jump up and quickly get dressed and head downstairs to find out what today holds for my morning without coffee...
My next door neighbor is sitting on my front steps looking as tired as I am. She informs me that I have a pig who is out and is a few houses down from here. Apparently she is the neighborhood animal patrol - unofficial of course. She informs me that everyone calls here when there is an animal question.
However, whenever I say neighborhood that is a loose term here in the country. As we all own 5-10+ acres each, our neighbors are a hike down the road.
After a few questions, I guessed immediately that my escapee was Chunky. Chunky is looking for a new family as he was brought back here after he was evicted from his first home. They were very said to loose him, but their housing situation had changed due to a loss of income, and they could no longer care for Chunky. I have yet to find him a home, and I don't know why. He's amazing! If he has to stay here with me - I am okay with that because he is super cool. He gives kisses, loves adventures, is a sucker for tummy rubs and is just really cool looking. He is super tall with a mega long nose, and I have to say he's melted my heart. However... he is clever and strong!
SO... back to the story...I quickly head to the barn and grab my food bucket, because I know that the only answer to Chunky to the food bucket. He's a big enough guy that picking him up just makes him holler. Getting a cage out for the car is just such a hassle and I wasn't about to carry him all the way home, which is at least a 1/4 mile. I have done this with other pigs before and trust me, I have regretted it the next day!
My neighbor took me down to where he was now being pampered in the front yard. He had cat food and carrots being fed to him while he politely sat for his treats. They said Chunky tried to go in their house and make himself at home. TOO Funny!
I asked them if they wanted a pet pig, but they declined. However, now that Chunky know that these are good people who serve his favorite... Carrots... they are in trouble!
Everyone looked at me, my bucket and Chunky and asked how I intended to get him to go home. I just smiled, shook my bucket, and said, "Chunky, Let's Go!" and I started walking down their 200 foot gravel driveway with Chunky trotting at my heels. Everyone was laughing at the site of him just following me home. Every few hundred feet, I stopped and gave him a few piggy pellets to reward his good behavior and encourage him to continue. It only took us a few minutes to make it down the main road back home.
Once I put Chunk back in the barn, I finally got to head inside and have my morning cup of coffee and just laugh at the ridiculous beginning to my day!