Monday, July 12, 2010

The Piglet avenger - the mean black pig

This is a sow I've named "the mean black pig" because she is very protective of her piglets You can see them to the right of the photo and underneath her. I was walking around the pasture doing a welfare check and had the camera in hand, and looked into this shelter to see how she was doing with her piglets. She immediately stood up

when a pig is about to attack they don't give you much outward sign. Notice her ears are forward and she's squared up on me. Shes giving me that look that I've come to associate with "look out!". It's a mix of the dirty-harry style "c'mon punk, make my day!" and from here you don't get any more warning.
this picture isn't really framed like the first two because i'm backpedaling hard to get away from her as she charges me.

From a husbandry point of view, having a sow that is very protective of her piglets is a bit of a problem, at least for my operation. I'd prefer to be able to work with the sow and her pigs without having to worry too much about being attacked. This particular pig won't let me get within 20 feet, and so I've been considering culling her on temperament. The upside for her is that she produces nice batches of piglets and manages to wean a good percentage of them. She's fine when she's not nursing pigs, and in fact, calms down when the pigs are a little bigger and running around on their own.


StefRobrts said...

What will she do if she catches you? Have you ever gotten bit by your pigs?

Melissa said...

Oh, I like her, she keeps your reflexes sharp, lol!! As long as it's not me she is chasing. . . .
Black is a good color, lot of power there, even better that she weans lots of piglets.

Me too, exactly what would she do if she caught you???? Is there a possibility it is a big bluff?

Anonymous said...

Its amazing how similar she looks in the top photo to a black bear sow about to come at you. They will have the same perked ears and dead eye stare!

Bruce King said...

I've had a sow catch me, and it isn't pretty. Not this sow, but another ripped my pants off after knocking me over backwards.

Having completely stomped me into the mud and removed a big part of my hide (in her mind), she backed off and I crab-crawled backwards.

I am very careful around sows with piglets now, even ones that have been sweet their entire lives. You can never be certain how she'll react to having babies.