Saturday, November 22, 2008

Catching pigs

Today we sold 2 pairs of pigs -- two boys, and two girls. One pair went to Won, a farmer a mile or so down the island. Won and I have traded pigs for goats (weiner pigs for nubian goats) and I bought a thousand bales of hay from him earlier this year; Jose has a house with 6 acres, and he wanted a pair of pigs so that he could breed them.

Mostly when you have boy pigs in a litter you castrate them. There's an issue of meat taste with some boars, called "boar taint", and if you castrate the pigs you eliminate that risk. I did not castrate Shorty's male piglet from her current litter, which was good luck for Jose. So Jose got a 7/8ths berkshire boar and a nice little gilt that I'm sure will make many piglets for him.

Jose also bought a pair of Narragansett Turkeys -- which will be cool for him. A handsome tom and a really nice hen -- I hand-picked them from the flock -- why breed bad stock? -- and I'm sure he'll have a good time with them.

We sold another breeding pair of black spanish turkeys today, and 15 chickens, and a bantam rooster, and all this was going on while I was trying to figure out how to get my tractor out. Busy day.

But we have our own little rodeo every time we sell a piglet to someone.

This is Andrea, showing proper piglet catching form. First, the piglet really doesn't want to mess with you. She wants to run away, so you really don't have to get worried about getting bitten, but the proper technique is to grab the pig by the hind legs. A diving grab is good form, as Andrea is demonstrating here.
Once youv'e got a hold of the rear legs, you then play a game of pig wheelbarrow. By lifting the rear legs off the ground the pig doesn't have as much traction as it used to, but it's still wiggling. and squealing. oh, SQUEALING. no really -- loud. WEEE!!! WEEEE!! I"M DYING!!! HELP ME MOMMA!!!

Ok, the pig is a little easier to handle here -- but Andreas hands are covered in mud. And the pigs legs have mud on them. And the pig is squealing. And the pig is wriggling like a crazed tuna.

So at this point I put the camera down and went and helped her put the pig into a pet crate for transport to its new home. This one went to Jose.

This happened 4 times today. A good time was had by all.

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