Saturday, August 8, 2009

Social pigs

Pigs are pretty funny creatures. In raising them I've had the opportunity to watch different age pigs, and know some of them for years. This is the story of Oinkalicious (the larger pig to the left in the photo below), and the little pig that doesn't have a name.
These two pigs are in a big pasture; 10 acres or so, half grass, half woods. But somehow, like all of the other pigs, they'll find themselves a few feet from a small group of pigs every day of their lives. They prefer to be in close company with their friends. And I really can't call it anything other than friendship. They'll play together, and sleep together, and root in the dirt together and hang out in small groups, usually 4-6 pigs. Here, the little pig would like to make friends with Oinkalicious, and is a little shy about it. Oinky glances at him, and then away. So he continues his little friendship dance. A few steps closer, and then a few more, and then, if oinky tolerates it, he'll lay down next to her and sleep with her. It's a warm day -- it's nothing to do with being chilly. Contact is important to a pig -- they sleep in communal groups, and in this way, the confinement operations mimic part of a pigs social environment. Even with acres of space, these pigs prefer life 6' from each other or less.

The difference is that they get to roam around and choose their friends, and I like that idea.

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